Gill, Michael - Blues For Lazarus,
As one may surmise from the artwork, Michael Gill is a pianist/keyboard player/arranger and after some years of being in bands he has decided to promote himself as the main act and this 2010 album is his debut effort. It is quite a mixture of style as he weaves a musical tapestry, and has brought together musicians that have enables him to fulfill his ideas. He has a deft touch on the piano, but I found that I most enjoyed this album when he is in full flight – there are times during opener “Merlin’s Journey” where it could almost be early Seventies Kansas. There are times when the music and vocals don’t really gel, such as on the title cut where the blues gravel vocals demands something a bit more definitive and dirty than the very sweet piano that accompanies it – true, the sax and bass do manage to put it in the right area somewhat, but overall the feeling is that it isn’t quite right.
That aside, there are some strong moments on this album such as the evocative cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Here Comes The Flood” which contains a perfect piano accompaniment to the stunning vocals of Callie Thomas. So, an album of contrasting musical styles and achievements, but worth seeking out with plenty of strong points.