One Day In a Life
2009 / Bill Wren
Review by Michael Debbage
Like many other musicians Bill Wren was utterly inspired by the Beatles performance on the Ed Sullivan show at the age of 14 and rushed out and purchased his first bass and learned to play. Influenced by rock blues and jazz, over the years Wren began to compose his own material and for the first time he finally found the time to release his own album of very impressive compositions entitled One Day In a Life.
The album is overflowing in gorgeous melodies that are anchored in new age and classical nuances and then smothered in smooth jazz without overwhelming the listener. Strangely, Wren does not appear as a performing at any given time and places his compositions into the more than capable hands of producer and arranger Frank Ralls who even occasionally appears on the keyboards. However, it is Wren’s hauntingly beautiful melodies that drive the album with the instrumentation focusing on Sandy Williams’s acoustic guitar and Ralls sweet but never sugary orchestration. Okay “I Will Waltz For You” is a little high on the calories but otherwise Wren and Ralls never overstep their boundaries of good taste.
The best jazz expedition comes courtesy of “Night Fall” with the wordless vocals of Kelly Willard countered by the stellar sax work of Tom Washatka paralleling the musical styling of smooth jazz group The Rippingtons. Speaking of Washatka he is once again featured on the exotic and sultry “Lovers Rendezvous” that is very slow and purposeful. At the complete opposite end of the spectrum there is the more moody and classically influenced “En Mai” that features Nick Curry on the cello and the results are simply gorgeous.
Despite pulling from multiple genres, Wren’s diversity has managed to create a uniquely unified album. And if One Day In a Life musically is any reflection of Wren’s personal life then it must be a pretty sweet life he is living. That said, Wren is currently working on his latest project Ships Of Wood which should soon see the light of day. But until that day comes enjoy his very impressive debut One Day In a Life.
August 15, 2010
Review by Kathy Parsons