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Review: Eclectica! - Flight Of Fancy
Album Cover - Flight Of Fancy
Flight Of Fancy
 Artist: Eclectica!
 Album: Flight Of Fancy
 Date of Release: 2011/03
 Label: MGP Records
 Cat. No.: MGPCD004
 Other:  
 Country of Release: UK
 Genre/s: 1) Jazz
2) Classical


 Sub-Genre/s: 1) Contemporary, Crossover, Post-Bop, Fusion, World Jazz
2) Third Stream
 Type: Studio
   Time: 63:30
   Date of Review: 2010/12/18
   Contact:  
   Web Site: http://www.lizzieball.com, http://www.myspace.com/eclecticaquartet. http://www.eclecticaquartet.com (av. soon)
   Sample Track
   Sample Track 2
 Case Of You
   

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Flight Of Fancy

To be released on MGP Records in March 2011, and launched at Ronnie Scott's around that time, Flight Of Fancy is Eclectica!'s much anticipated second album.

The diversity of Eclectica!'s members' musical backgrounds alone could justify the name. This string quartet - with its second violin and viola replaced by two guitars - is led by Lizzie Ball, with an essentially classical background, leader and guest soloist with one-time enfant terrible of the classical world Nigel Kennedy's Orchestra of Light, violinist of classical latin trio Classico Latino, leader of the pop-oriented Lizzie Ball Band, and involved in various other projects, not to mention also keeping busy as an in-demand session violinist. Former Lindsay String Quartet founder member and cellist of forty years and now member of the award-winning Dante Quartet Bernard Gregor-Smith surely needs no further introduction. Classically trained guitarist Pete Oxley is a jazz guitarist and composer best known for his work with world jazz group Curious Paradise. Second guitarist and composer Nicolas Meier is also conservatory trained and best known for his jazz work with his Meier Group and his jazz guitar trios, his music strongly informed by Turkish music and flamenco, among others. In addition, Meier also 'lets rip' with his metal band Seven7.

However, the eclectic element doesn't stop with Eclectica's member's musical backgrounds. They essentially play jazz in a 'classical' style that is informed by their diverse backgrounds. The material Eclectica! play could hardly be more eclectic if they tried. The title Flight Of Fancy describes the album very well indeed. On this flight of fancy, the ten tracks comprise two Oxley originals, a further two Meier ones, a Meier/Yilmaz-Meier original, a Joni Mitchell and a Stevie Wonder song, classical material from Rimsky-Korsakov and Albinoni, a Hungarian classic from Vitorri Monti, and representing the latin world one of the great Jobim classics. How much more eclectic could it get?

This immense blend of material and styles works supremely well in the more than capable hands of Eclectica! and Flight Of Fancy remains coherent and cohesive throughout. Indeed, with Flight Of Fancy Eclectica! deliver an album that is immensely exciting as well as intensely beautiful, sometimes achingly so. The soloing is excellent, the ensemble playing flawless. The empathy among the players is tremendous, especially considering that this band was only formed as recently as 2007. In addition to the marvelous instrumental virtuosity of Eclectica!, Lizzie Ball's excellent vocals on three of the tracks are a further bonus. Ms. Ball is a magnanimously gifted singer, in addition to her prodigious gifts as a violinist, and the Joni Mitchell and Antonio Carlos Jobim material - also represented on Eclectica!'s debut album - seems to suit her particularly well.

Overall, Flight Of Fancy takes the eclecticism of Eclectica! even further than the previous And This Is One Of Them..., particularly with Meier's Turkish and flamenco/gypsy influences and flavours entering into the sound picture for the first time. Oxley's originals contribute a vibrant Latin groove as well as a more reflective, Brazilian-influenced one - a wonderful, almost incongruous, juxtaposition to the title's Cornish association.

At once sumptuous and scintillating, Flight Of Fancy is a veritable feast for any true music lover. As enchanting as it is stimulating, this is bound to be one of the great albums of 2011. Eclectica!'s unquestionable virtuosity and impeccable pedigree has this amazing ensemble's star shine brighter than ever with this stunning new album. What accounts for a great deal of Eclectica!'s strength as well as charm is also the two classical players' complete comfort with improvisation and conversely, the two jazz guitarists' total ease with the classical elements of the music. The violin of Ms. Ball and particularly also the cello of Gregor-Smith, with his unmatched beautiful tone, are also simply to die for!

Wonderfully consistent throughout, Flight Of Fancy is not just compelling but moreover simply brilliant, utterly absorbing and irresistible. As an added bonus the album gives the ghastly jewel case a miss and instead is presented in a well designed double gate fold.

Needless to say then, Eclectica!'s Flight Of Fancy should be beyond essential in any good contemporary jazz or contemporary classical collection. Beyond that, this album should also find a good home in any eclectic world music or for that matter any good general contemporary music collection. Unmissable!
 

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.


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Track List:

 1. Flight of Fancy (P. Oxley) - 7:41
 2. Yemin (The Pledge) (N. Meier) - 8:01
 3. A Case Of You (J. Mitchell, arr. P. Oxley) - 5:18
 4. Czardas (V. Monti, arr. N. Meier) - 7:12
 5. Sands of St. Ives (P. Oxley) - 8:04
 6. Isn't She Lovely (S. Wonder, arr. P. Oxley) - 5:31
 7. Flight Of The Bumblebee / Adagio (N. Rimsky-Korsakov / T. Albinoni, arr. N. Meier) - 5:02
 8. A Rose In The Pyrenees (N. Meier / S. Yilmaz-Meier) - 6:38
 9. Vatan (Homeland) (N. Meier) - 5:17
10. Corcovado (A.C. Jobim, arr. P. Oxley) - 4:24


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Credits:


Lizzie Ball - violin & vocals
Pete Oxley - acoustic nylon & steel guitars
Bernard Gregor-Smith - cello
Nicolas Meier - acoustic nylon guitar



 

Purchasing Info:


Flight Of Fancy can be purchased:


Direct from MGP Records


From most general CD stores and online sources from March 2011



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