Seattle’s Moraine not only make Washington State proud, but also the whole American progressive music scene joyful. The line up is Dennis Rea / guitars - Alicia DeJoie / violin - James DeJoie / saxophones, flutes and effects - Kevin Millard / bass and Stephen Cavit / drums.
This is quite a superb live performance at the Nearfest of 2010 where there are no second takes or overdubs. It’s simply an impressive dead on eleven song tour de force. Some of you might remember (and hopefully read) my review last year for Dennis Rea’s solo “Views From Chicheng Precipice” in which Dennis brings a suite (‘Disoriental Suite) into this performance. It fits like a glove I might add. So we get not only old Moraine (off their debut ‘Manifest DeNsity’) and Dennis Rea songs, we also get some unreleased songs from the band as well. The band goes from a strong King Crimson instrumental sound (Discipline/Red/eras) to varied Asian, jazz fusion (old and new), power fusion like Zappa , Magma, and Mats/Morgan, and some progressive celestial improvisation. There is no denying the Mahavishnu Orchestra influence either, although a tiny bit less aggressive and happily, a good deal less congested. One other long defunct and more obscure 70's US progressive fusion band, I used to own on vinyl, that Moraine remind me of is Flying Island (Another Kind of Space). They had a lead female violinist as well with a ultra tight all instrumental group of highly skilled musicians.
One of the many stand outs I hear on the recording is their comfort with improv. I can hear the relaxed way the musicians play each song, although it also sounds like every note is exactly intended and done without so much as a question of commitment. I am sad I missed this concert because I can tell what an extraordinary performance it was both on CD and on stage. I vote they release a live DVD of it and include all the banter from Dennis , the band and the audience. Maybe it is on DVD somewhere as a whole (Nearfest 2010). Moraine have a impressive set of great progressive bands they have shared bills with including Three Friends, Steve Hackett, Eddie Jobson, Richard Pinhas, K2 and more.
I can’t brag enough on how great this performance is. I am not only excited to have this band to follow and listen to, I am eagerly awaiting their next release. Also, since I live in the Seattle area, I am hoping to catch them live in the near future. I also want to thank Leonardo Pavkovic for producing and making both Moraine’s wonderful recordings possible on physical CD. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to listen to this music on a crummy mp3 download. What a cheat of a listening experience that would be. As for how I feel about “Metamorphic Rock (as if I haven’t said *s*) I simply hate myself for waiting so long to listen to it and review it. Shame on me. For all those who have not heard it, GET THIS! Highly Recommended!
Reviewed by Lee Henderson on February 8th, 2012