Review of White Rock II submitted on 12th March 2002
I'm not the best at reviewing but I'll give it a go for ya. The first track, Oriental Iceman, was obviously written for the 1972 Sapporo Olympic Winter Games for it has a VERY Oriental sound. Just recall all the documentary programs such as National Geographic or nearly any movie that changes locations from West to East and sets the location as the Orient by the music before any action or subtitle. This piece has a very distinct theme that is repeated very frequently. Perhaps too much, as this piece could have been easily shorter than the 11:48. There are nice easy solos between the choruses, no major flashes. I find this to be the weakest piece of the recording, not bad, but ironic for the opener, and may be the reason some have shown trepidations in the CD. The rest of the album improves. The next track, Ice Pie, starts with a haunting subtle melody on the Korg but switches as it picks up speed to the Roland (I think). Thorneycroft-Smith does a good job of interweaving with Rick a longing guitar sound into the piece. Brad Waissman plays a bass line that is beautifully crafted to fit this very melodic piece that aptly recalls the grace of ice skating as it flows around the rink. The piece continually crescendos as a skaters long program would. Rick uses practically every keyboard to melodically, without to much flash, raise the energy throughout the piece. I read a review that said there was no "After the Ball " piece on this recording. Must have been a different CD. Dancing on Snowflakes is absolutely a beautiful piece. Rick on piano, a beautiful acoustic guitar accompaniment and very well orchestrated. I love the piece and it could easily be a compliment to "After the Ball" when touring in the classical mode. One of my favorite pieces of any, and my favorite on this recording is the ROCKIN and fun loving piece, Nine Ice Groove. It recalls "Ride of Your Life" from Return and "Never Ending Road" from Fields of Dreams. Excellent fun solos from Rick and rockin' guitar work as well. A lot of the clavinet sound, gets the moog fired up, some great sustain and pitch-bending.. just a happy tune. The next tune is "In the Frame" which seems to have borrowed heavily from the "One Shining Moment" tune that is always played at the end of the NCAA basketball tournament. You know... the highlight reel of still shots, perhaps hence the title. This next tune is another of those that makes the purchase of this CD worth it. Harlem Slalom is a well thought out 3 movement classically oriented piece that incorporates improvisation as well. The first movement has a similar majestic feel and sound to it as "Arthur". The second movement has the string arrangements drawn from Prokofiev with a great acoustic guitar solo to bring the piece into the third movement which takes the themes of the first movement and improvises on them Everyone takes a turn at shaping and reshaping the main theme and returning to it. The final piece, "Frost in Space" begins by evoking the speed and precision of the speed sports.. downhill, speed skating, and then the suspension of sound while flying in the long jump with sustained chords played as a way to change tempo and summarize another event. About halfway through, one of these changes evokes the plodding and ever methodical moving of cross country racing. As I'm sure you realize by now, I really enjoy this CD. I'm sure you'll agree I should stick to my day job as well. It's nice to see new material and not just live or compilation material being released. Having this CD in your collection enhances both your and Rick's value.