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CD Review: "A Caravan of Dreams"

_Sweet Willie_

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Last week I rec'd a new CD that I'd purchased in the mail -- A Caravan of Dreams by our very own Max Valentino. :cool: I have had a chance to listen to the CD a few times thru and thought I should say a few words here about it.


This CD is all Max all the time. He is the sole performer, and the credit reads, "Max Valentino: solo bass guitar and loops." The CD liner also explains that pretty much the whole CD was recorded live. His Godin A4 Acoustibass is the primary instrument, although other basses were used as well.


There is plenty of beautiful music on this CD -- sincerely compelling compositions. It is not a "chops-fest," although it is very clear that Max knows his way around a bass guitar! The compositions exhibit great creativity and definitely caused me to think differently about what the bass guitar can do as an instrument. Max uses his basses percussively, chordally, and melodically. It's very inspiring. Also, Max employs "looping" very effectively on this CD, allowing him to build the compositions and layer the music interactively -- that is, those percussive, chordal, and melodic qualities can all have interplay in each piece.


My reaction to this CD was similar to my reaction to a musically stirring CD by Jonas Hellborg called The Silent Life -- on which Jonas plays unaccompanied solo acoustic bass guitar throughout. The two CDs are definitely different, but they both had the similar effect on me of making me think differently about the potential of the bass, in particular acoustic and semi-acoustic bass guitar, as an instrument and creative voice -- specifically as a solo musical voice. There is an emotive quality that I hear in the music that is enhanced by the use of semi-acoustic and acoustic bass guitar without accompaniment.


Back to Max's music specifically. :) The arrangement of the tracks gives the CD a progressive character. By that I don't mean "prog" as in a genre, but rather that as you listen to the CD from the first track through the last track there is a developmental flavor -- the music "grows" (for lack of a better word) from track to track.


Personally I have been enjoying a core of tracks the most -- the middle three on the CD: "Drifting," "A Caravan of Dreams," and "Farfetched." I have found the melodies and rhythms of these 3 tracks particularly mesmerizing.


I think Max is currently working on a follow-up CD (which I look forward to). If I ever have an opportunity to hear Max play live, I will definitely take advantage of it.


A public "thank you" to you, Max, for pushing our musical boundaries, and in particular for allowing me to hear bass differently. :thu: (Hopefully, Max, you don't mind me sharing my impressions on the forum like this...)






Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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My gosh........

I mean, most humbly, thank you so very much.

It means a great deal to me to have one's "peers" listen to and enjoy my music.


I suppose my intention with this CD, as with most of my solo work, is to show possibilities for the bass guitar. I have always felt that the bass offered so much potential for truely beautiful and moving music. And, not just in the solo sense. In most groups I play with I tend to stick to fairly "conventional" methods, yet, when the time is right, I try push the potential of the bass within the confinds of ensemble playing as much as I can.


As bassists, we are traditionally support vehicles. We can be quite eloquent in our support (and we can hold a mighty groove!). Yet, I have always found it important for the instruments, and players, to involve themselves in a sort of "inner dialogue" within the music. In that role, the bass, and all instruments, are on equal ground. It takes surpreme discipline, committment, integrity, and skill to enter into a musical "discussion" as such to prevent it from either a foray or simple cacaphony.


My work as a solo bassist has not been to highlight "chops", but rather, at the influence of Michael Manring, to display the possibilities of the bass guitar for both compostion and performance.


Thanks again, Willie, that was very...u....sweet, and kind of you.



...it's not the arrow, it's the Indian.
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Originally posted by dcr:

Where do I get a copy?

I sent a PM to Max and purchased directly from him.


I think he told me that some of the local music stores near him in CA carry it, but that doesn't help you in Wichita.



Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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