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Album Review: Transmigration
Al Jewer and Andy Mitran
Cover image of the album Transmigration by Al Jewer and Andy Mitran
Al Jewer and Andy Mitran
2016 / Two Trees Innerworld
75 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
To say that Transmigration is eclectic would be a great understatement! Subtitled “A Journey With Friends,” the album is a collaboration with Al Jewer and Andy Mitran plus twenty-two other artists including Miriam Stockley, Tony Levin, Jeff Oster, Jeff Pearce, Ricky Kej, Lisa Downing, Vito Gregoli, and Sherry Finzer. Al Jewer and Andy Mitran’s previous albums have garnered an impressive number of awards and nominations, and there is little doubt that Transmigration will do the same. On their website, Jewer and Mitran describe the project this way: “This album speaks of a journey that these very special people are taking with us. It is a journey that starts with a simple introduction that leads to a conversation and ends with the metamorphosis of that conversation into a formless beautiful piece of music that contains elements of us all. This CD has been about two years in the making and includes a rare and awesome group of collaborators and friends. They are among our most admired artists and composers and we are thrilled beyond belief to have worked with them to bring you this album.” Ranging from smooth jazz to ambient to ethnic, from new age to blues to world music, this impressive album covers a huge amount of musical territory with its fourteen tracks yet stays cohesive throughout. Al Jewer and Andy Mitran have been making music together for more than fifteen years, and each artist/composer is proficient on an impressive and diverse selection of musical instruments that include guitars, flutes, piano and keyboards, percussion and drums, marimba, accordion, and singing bowls to name only a few.

Transmigration starts out with “Talking Stone,” which speaks to the intention of the journey. Miriam Stockley’s vocals and Tony Levin’s bass blend with Jewer’s elbow guitar and Mitran’s piano, drums, percussion, and synths in a piece that incorporates elements of jazz, chant and world music - an intriguing beginning! “Portal” becomes more exotic and draws from several different cultures to create something unique. “First Crossing” features Jeff Pearce on guitar and is somewhat more ethereal and ambient - very smooth and relaxing! “Council Fire” is described as “a celebration of friendship and collaboration” and features Jeff Oster on flugel horn. It begins with an air of mystery, but becomes more playful and upbeat as it evolves. “Rendezvous” was co-composed by Ricky Kej and has a joyful Indian spirit that is both exciting and fun. Lisa Downing, one of my favorite pianists, co-composed and plays on “Cloudwalker,” described as “ascending to transformation, floating together” - musical magic! TC Furlong’s pedal steel gives “Red Road” a country slow-dance feeling. The title track features Vito Gregoli on guitars, sitar, charango, and dobro in a cross-cultural piece that is in turn rhythmic, lively, graceful, mystical, and more. “Unfolding Path” is the sound of a magical sunrise. “The Intention” is one of my favorites. Darker and bluesier, I really like the cool, slinky quality of this one! The very peaceful “Quiet Waters” includes Muriel Anderson on harp guitar and Sherry Finzer on alto flute. Slow and gracefully haunting, I really like this one, too! “Event Horizon” brings us to the final transformation of the journey, calm and at peace.

Transmigration is indeed and warm and inviting “journey with friends,” presenting a varied palette of musical colors and styles. It is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Highly recommended.
June 25, 2016
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