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Neal Schon – The Calling CD

Neal Schon, the guitarist and ringleader in Journey, is set to release his second solo album, Neal has at some time or another worked with everybody from John Waite and Jeff Scott Soto, Paul Rodgers and Carlos Santana, and Sammy Hagar.
It has been seven years since his last solo release ‘ I On U’ , and once again Neal has teamed up with two other names from his past, ex Journey drummer Steve Smith, and keyboard player Jan Hammer.
Before we go any further, I must point out that this album is a fully instrumental affair, with Neal playing all guitars and Bass, Steve Smith on drums, Jan Hammer on Moog, and Igor Len who is a jazz piano player, on Keyboards. I am not really a fan of instrumental records, the odd one or two I can live with, but a whole album, that’s takes some doing on my part. However, this is really good, it is really an excuse for Neal to shine, as he wrings the neck out of his guitar, time and time again, backed up by some serious Moog playing from Jan.
This is a record of different styles and textures, from the jazz of ‘Carnival Jazz’ the self-explanatory ‘Six String Waltz’ , the solo spot of ’Irish Field’ which showcases Neal’s touch and finesse at song writing, through to the hard hitting ‘Back Smash’, Neal never stays in the same camp for long, flitting from genre to genre with consummate ease. The full on jazz of “Fifty Six”, is testament to how content he is as a musician to let Igor Len bring something new to the table, and at the same time pushing Neal into the background. ‘Blue Rainbow Sky’ could be on any Journey record if he just added some lyrics, such is his playing on this track, full of emotion and stirring melodies.
This is deserving of another spin in the cd player, think of it as a Calling. 8/10
Track Listing

01. The Calling
02. Carnival Jazz
03. Six String Waltz
04. Irish Field
05. Back Smash
06. Fifty Six (56)
07. True Emotion
08. Tumbleweeds
09. Primal Surge
10. Blue Rainbow Sky
11. Transonic Junk
12. Song Of The Wind II
www.schonmusic.com

About David Farrell

General Manager and 'THE' competition guy at planetmosh.com. Manager of The Goddanm Electric www.thegde.co.uk, Tour manager for Serpentine, and ex-general Dogsbody at Hammerfest.co.uk. Media partner to numerous bands. Also takes photos, writes reviews and likes classic rock, with a touch of thrash to get the blood flowing.