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Jacaranda by Trevor Rabin (Review)

posted May 7, 2012, 8:55 PM by Kaya Savas   [ updated May 8, 2012, 2:35 PM ]

Trevor Rabin is one of the greatest composers and performers around. As part of the band Yes he made rock history with songs like "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" and established himself as one of the greatest guitarists in the world. His signature sound is something only he can achieve with the instrument just as Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix and Rodrigo y Gabriela have established their mark on it. He took that sound to the composing realm where he helped define the sound of the action score. In the 90's he as well as composers like Hans Zimmer and Mark Mancina each contributed an essential part to the soundscape of action movies in the genre. The defining point came with scores like Armageddon, Con Air and Enemy Of The State. He took his sound and made it a staple with great scores to Flyboys, National Treasure, The Great Raid and Bad Boys II. You could also credit the sound of the sports drama to him with genre defining scores like Remember The Titans, Glory Road, Gridiron Gang and Coach Carter. Now after 20 years he's taking a break from scoring films and releasing a solo album titled Jacaranda. What is Jacaranda? It's pure Trevor Rabin; an album that contains music which defines the man. Part throwback to his rock days, part reflection, part experimentation but all inspiration. It's a collective expression of Rabin like I've never heard before.

Jacaranda is definitely an album experience. He features the guitar and piano since those are the instruments he feels at home with. Some tracks may feel a bit blunt, but others are soothing experiences that transcend time and space. The album is structured into two parts; at least that's how I took it. Part 1 is a bit more lively and energetic. We take a transition moment with the track "Rescue", which Rabin fans will recognize is from his score to The Guardian. He had Liz Constantine come back in to re-record the vocals. New life comes to the track as he adds guitars and more to it. The second half of the album seems more reflective than expressive, but each track has equal amounts of expressive and reflective qualities. The music is just alive, and it embodies Rabin as a musician so well. I grew up listening to his scores; he was partly the reason why I became fascinated with sound and image. When you're a young kid growing up in the 90's and you hear something like Armageddon then how can you not be inspired. This music was written freely from within, not to picture. So it has a different feel, but it does feel familiar. It's fun, it's spirited and it makes you realize how important music is as a reflection of the human spirit.

Trevor named the album Jacaranda because when he grew up in South Africa it was the image of the Jacaranda tree that seemed to stick in his head. It's an album that is the collective sum of his inspiration as a musician. The music is not bound to any picture, and it's free from any lyrics. It's pure music. There's no story being told, just emotions being painted. Jacaranda is an important mark in Rabin's career since it really does reflect on the sonic landscape that he's built over the years. A truly remarkable musical experience from a truly remarkable musical composer.