Jonathan Wilson - Fanfare
Taking a detour from his other life as a producer, Jonathan Wilson’s second album Fanfare brings a neat progression of the sound he has cultivated for himself. 2011’s Gentle Spirit gained Wilson spots on some Album of the Year lists but since then he's been back in the producer's chair working with the likes of Roy Harper, Glen Campbell, and Father John Misty on their latest releases. One of those musicians whose industry cred far outweighs his public recognition (contributions from Graham Nash, David Crosby, and Jackson Browne amongst others show as much), he's happy to just do things bigger and better this time round, sticking to his strengths and playing up the so-called 'Laurel Canyon' sound he’s been credited with reviving.
The extended intro of ‘Fanfare’ sets the tone; at seven minute plus it takes its time. It has a dreamy, otherworldly feel that continues with ‘Dear Friend’ before that tune morphs into a terrific four minute guitar solo. A bit more chilled out are the acoustic-y ‘Her Hair Is Growing Long’, exquisite organ-driven ‘Moses Pain’, and, coming over all Crosby, Stills and Nash, the sumptuous harmonies and guitar of ‘Cecil Taylor’. Ever expanding the list of influences there’s a touch of funk (‘Future Vision’), slight hints of Neil Young (‘Illumination’), some jazz (‘Fazon’), psychedelic wig-out (‘New Mexico’) and old school blues-funk crossover (Lovestrong).
This is an album to savour; with a running time of over an hour Wilson gives himself and the music time to breathe and mature. The more you listen, the more you appreciate the care taken over each track, and every instrument played. A fine achievement from a producer and musician with a very singular vision, this is a journey through defined era of American popular music. (Re)Visit the 70s in a most thrilling way.