A Trick of the Wind
2018 / Erik Scott
Review by Kathy Parsons
It’s been two years since Erik Scott released his multiple-award-winning In The Company of Clouds (Zone Music Reporter’s “Album of the Year” and “Best Contemporary Instrumental Album”), but it was well worth the wait for A Trick of the Wind! The variety in the music covers a wide range of music genres, often mixing them in highly unlikely ways that work beautifully in Scott’s very creative and experienced hands. In his 50-year career, Erik Scott has played and collaborated with a dizzying array of groups and individual musicians, but he’s been going it solo for the past ten years (or so). Scott is known primarily as a bassist, but that only scratches his musical surface. On A Trick of the Wind, he plays fretless and fretted basses, eBow bass, electric piano, organ, synthesizer, electric sitar, percussion programs, and bass-generated fx. He also sings and did the recording and mixing! He is joined by an impressive group of artists on some of the nine tracks, and a few are just Scott and percussionist Celso Alberti. Saying that this is a great album is a huge understatement and you’ll have to hear it for yourself to fully appreciate what I mean by that!
Before I tell you more about the music, I think this quote from Erik Scott says is all: “At this point in my life, I make music for the same reason I did 50 years ago, when I started. I make it because I have something to express, and I really don’t have the words. My hope is that if I can get the music right, it will paint like a picture … worth a thousand words.”
A Trick of the Wind begins with “Wings,” a piece that blends gospel-like vocals (wordless) with a strong rhythm section, guitars and synths. It’s a fascinating opener that is sure to draw you in. “The Wind Sings a Strange Song” features John Pirruccello on steel guitar and Jeff Pearce on guitar synthesizer as well as Scott on bass. It has a kind of slow-dance rhythm, but is so much more than that. Slow, dreamy, magical and mysterious all come to mind to describe this piece. Jeff Oster makes an appearance playing muted trumpet and flugelhorn on “Ghosts of Storyville,” which mixes gospel-like vocals with a bit of jazz and a little “film noir.” The title track is one of several favorites. It reminds me of a movie soundtrack that takes place out in the desert - desolate, mysterious and more than a little bit wild. Love it! “Solooca…Heart Wind” has a slow country feeling with steel guitar, bass, drums and wordless vocals. The organ intro to “A Wing and a Prayer” gives it a hymn-like sound until bass, piano and percussion enter and send it soaring skyward - another favorite! “The Invisible Wand” is pretty indefinable (I always like that!) with its mix of steel guitar, strings, bluesy vocals, and catchy beat. There’s even some organ in there. Relaxed and easy-going, it just makes you feel good. John Luttrell joins in on electric guitar on “Born Dreaming,” a piece that is more ambient than melodic, but still has a strong rhythm and beautiful harmonies. The closing track, “A Child Remains” is positively addictive! It begins with a simple intro that sounds like a calliope. A bassoon sound enters that is lazy but playful. More instrumentation is added and then the piece returns to the opening theme. I love the innocence and gentleness of this one!
I haven’t heard all of Erik Scott’s solo albums, but this is my favorite of the three I’ve reviewed. Great from start to finish, it’s available from Amazon and iTunes. Very highly recommended!
August 24, 2018