Randal Clark : Imaginary World Review
Salt Lake City-based contemporary and concert saxophonist Randal Clark is bringing us a new album titled Imaginary World. Clark has teamed up with prolific songwriter Jeff Lorber, who wrote well over half of the material on this project. Lorber’s tunes are brilliant and melodious. The keyboardist is also among the strong cast of musicians assembled for this recording, including drummers Vinnie Colaiuta and Gary Novak, bassist Jimmy Haslip (who also produced), guitarists Mike Miller and Michael Thompson, as well as several others. There’s even a special guest appearance from Randy Brecker.
Right from the opening track, “Trailblazer,” a Lorber original, Clark displays seriously brilliant musicianship. Clark and Lorber are two singular voices united in a powerful playing of the melody. Clark’s solo is a fountain of themes with an uncanny ability to explore notions of time. His fluidity and expression on the alto saxophone are lovely. Mike Miller provides colorful guitar sounds over the inventive textures that populate the funky groove of Michael Thompson’s guitar and Gary Novak’s drums.
“Living Underground” is another Lorber original set to a sunny contemporary groove with Jimmy Haslip on bass and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums. The ensemble’s energy is promptly felt as the groove creates a substratum for Clark’s magical melodies. His solo offers an ample opportunity to hear his magnetic phrases as they form a unified arch of musical imagination and excitement. His legato playing and upper register screams are remarkable. Haslip’s agile bass solo is short but enjoyable. This is the type of feel-good jazz that makes everything just a little brighter.
Imaginary World brings many talents and compositions into a cohesive project with excellent playing, catchy melodies, and outstanding soloing. The album is a potent concoction of soul, jazz, and funk. Clark’s beautifully designed maneuvers on the saxophone add extra unique flavor here, and there are many great musical moments from all the bandmembers.
April 30, 2021
Blue Hour Productions