I have had the pleasure of reviewing "Prodigal Son" by Dave Isaacs in the past. When I spotted this new release, I immediately contacted Dave and asked if I could review it. He promptly sent me a copy and shortly after I underwent a knee replacement surgery. This put me a little off track, but it gave me hours to listen to Dave's new work, "Flying". So Dave, I apologize for the slow response on my part… but I love your latest effort! "Flying" is far from what I expected and yet in a way, no surprise. Dave is one of the most talented guitarists and performers on the planet and just hasn't be recognized by the public at the level of some of his peers. Dave changes up what one might expect and delivers a full instrumental effort with many colors and shades largely influenced by jazz.
"For True" kicks off the tunes on "Flying". It is a dreamy song with his guitar accented with chorus and reverb. Dave plays what sounds like a relaxed lead but it is not as effortless to play as it sounds. Precision placement of every note and timing to perfection with the accompanying bass [Dave Isaacs on many songs] and drums [Steve Holley] create the impression of ease. The song is dedicated to his wife, Jeri, and was recorded in one take.
Keyboard, bass and drums create the backdrop for the jazzy "Front Porch Swing". Dave's guitar is paralleled and echoed by the Hammond B3 organ also played very proficiently by Dave. The liner notes indicate influences by Wes Montgomery and Jimmy Smith. The articulation and snap of the licks combined with the warm rich sound would lead one to think they were played on a big jazz guitar but I am guessing this is more Dave's fingering and his signature Parker Fly guitar at work.
"Eighth Avenue" has an urban feel with it's percussion and Hammond B3 accents [organ work by Al Speed]. Many textures of guitar sound in layers expand the tune to a dramatic listening stage. At one point it is as if Dave is wringing the sound out of his guitar. Awesome!
Listening early in the morning today, the tune, "Sunrise", has a special influence. The Spanish guitar finger picked notes over the synthesizer guitar backing almost perfectly describe the sun peaking over the trees outside. A flute floats along with Dave's guitar.
"La Mosca" shows off more of Dave's Spanish style guitar and with an upbeat bass and drum backing you can almost feel the flight of the fly. Dave's guitar work is similar in feel at various points in the tune to Carlos Santana's guitar work.
The beautiful "Shadows Waltz" strolls along with Dave's guitar dancing on top of bass, drums, and acoustic guitar.
"Waterfall" features finger-picked guitar. Dave's liner notes indicate this was improvised in one take in the studio.
The opening drums on "The Lonesome Gunslinger Saves The Day" with the bass and Roland guitar synth set the platform for Dave to roll out a thick spaghetti western sounding guitar. This evolves into a rich and full performance drenched in guitar textures.
Finger-picked and reverb drenched guitar is featured in the solo performance of "Winter's Lullaby". The liner notes indicate it was a live improvisation in the studio.
"Xangô" opens with finger picked bluesy guitar. As the song progresses it transforms into a powerful and percussive performance. Bob Stander does a terrific job on the bass.
You can visit Dave at his web site where there is an up to date gig list and additional information about Dave and his various projects. Dave has a section on his web site set up to preview songs. You can purchase "Flying" here. If you would like to see a video of Dave playing and singing "Isabella" from his "Prodigal Son" release you can view it here. Dave's performance on "Flying" is a treat and will provide many listens for me. I urge you to give Dave a listen and pick up "Flying" and enjoy a superb guitar performance!
~ steve ekblad audiogrid.com