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Emergent (Gordian Knot II) 2003 CD $12.
It's fairly rare that I can't find the words to describe my thoughts and feelings about a topic, but this is one that has me teetering on the edge. I've been aware/waiting for this CD for such a long period of time that in my lower moments I considered that it wouldn't be all I hoped. As most I thought "Something good will come out at the end of this".
I couldn't have been more wrong. "Something good" didn't arrive with it. Something wonderful, magical, and inspiring did. "Emergent" is one in a small handful of music that has touched me to my core and will have a lasting effect on me in the years to come. Every moment of this CD is a true work of art in both the technical "musicianship" and compositional aspects, as well as the elusive "melodic" side. It's complex, layered music (as you would expect from a "master" bassist and Stickist, the author of numerous bass instructional books and a doctoral candidate in music from the University of Oregon) but it's hardly inaccessible to those not versed in music theory. Singable melodies and passages leap from the speaker at any given moment.
For such a layered release, the Stick is very prominent in the mix with what I like to call the trademark Stick "flowing distortion" cutting through numerous times (it also helps that the varous soloist's times are listed in the liner notes). One of the the standout tracks is a live rendition of the first CD's hidden track "Grace", in which Sean uses an Echoplex to recreate the multiple tracks of the original.
Gordian Knot 1997 CD $12.
Gordian Knot has all the crucial elements of the prog rock genre - the conceptually new lead lines of unusual intervals, the gliding, overlapping polyrhythms, the bashing and thrashing rhythm section, the seductive, deep distorted solos, and the more abstract, "Soundscape" interludes and endings (as originated by Robert Fripp). Thrills and chills, a legato ride of tapped strings, in which Sean's many faceted Stick plays an important role throughout.
Sean's musical concept crosses all borders and blurs all lines between rock versus jazz versus classical, between improvisation versus composition, and ethereal versus bombast. Sean brings a classical dimension to this work. It's in the movements, the reiterations, and in the "orchestration" (no matter that there are no "classical" instruments present).
Cortlandt 1996 CD $12.
Sean's Grand Stick and bass work fill every roleÑfrom smooth to funky bass lines, liquid solos and melodic and rhythmic textures. Mostly originals, jazz fusion with touches of metal and "world music" with drums and guitar along with one additional bonus.
Buried some thirty minutes past the final song listed on the CD, you will find Sean's solo arrangement of Bach's Sinfonia number 4 in D minor. You have to scroll fast forward through silence to get to it, as it is not indexed.
This three minute jewel has the most amazing harmonic structure, making use of harmonizing pairs of passing notes to stray from the mode in a very modern way. Sean plays it without effects on heavy gauge Stick strings that somehow eerily convey the sound and sensation of a huge pipe organ almost convincing the listener that this piece was written for the Stick. Excellent conception and execution.