Review of DREAMS - unknown author and
The more you hear a band live, the more difficult it becomes to truly assess the worth of their recordings, especially their first recording. Having heard DREAMS probably as frequently as anyone who is not playing in the band, I've come to know this band and their material. I know the songs that are on this LP, and those that were left off for one reason or another. I've heard this band play at their absolute best: I've also heard the nights that it didn't come off. DREAMS is a band that depends on a very delicate balance between the blowin' jazz horns and the rockin' rhythm. I don't think I've ever heard the band this tightly balanced before [yes I know in a studio you can retake till you get it down right but that doesn't matter ].
More than half the beauty of a Randy Brecker trumpet solo is the knowledge that it is for one moment only and that it won't ever be played the same way ever again. That's what the jazz background can bring to a band like this. As far as the rock is concerned, the rhythm section really goes. It is a band that can be danced to or listened to with two repertoires to accent each of these facets. I told the members of the band during the period when they were recording this LP that one of two things will have to happen for DREAMS to make it: Either the band will have to simplify their music to the point where it is danceable, or the public will have to open their ears and listen to some pretty heavy sounds. It would seem as though it is happening both ways.
This, then, is not an LP, but halves of two LP's . Side 1 is music for the dancers, AM radio to Top 40. Side 2 is DREAMS SUITE , which begins where SGT.PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND left off. Not to say it's better than but in a bag with. DREAMS SUITE, with its complex harmonies, tempo changes, horn voicings, and, joy of joys, a Billy Cobham drum cadenza , is not for the dancing public. It is truly a suite as any of Tchaikovsky's or Grieg's. It is a musical compendium of thoughts and feelings about our times, and places, and lives.
As for the pop hits, they're there. Everybody's betting on DEVIL LADY to be the big one, but I'll still go with my first favorite, bassist Doug Lubahn's FIFTEEN MILES TO PROVO. Doug also has a very pretty folk ballad, THE MARYANNE that shows both his writing similarity to David Crosby and his vocal similarity to Neil Young. Organist Jeff Kent has two of his originals on the 45 sides with HOLLY and TRY ME on the latter, with its explosive organ and horn duet ending. I regret that , though the band has three lead singers on board, only Doug Lubahn and Mike Vernon are heard on the recording. For some reason, Jeff Kent didn't do any lead vocals this time around . I regret the necessary omission of songs like AFFECTION, and MAKE MY LIFE, but there's got to be something left over for chapter two in the Doug Lubahn/ Jeff Kent songbook.
BACK TO ARTICLES