Hummingbird In A Box
added: 29 Jun 2014
// release date: 7 Jul 2014 // label: Sony
reviewer: Andy Snipper
Throughout his long career Peter Frampton has never been afraid of the new and the music that develops him. From pop through heavy Blues into rock and onwards, always moving forward and never particularly courting the most obvious and easy route.
This new mini-album stands alone from anything he has done before and judging it from that standpoint it is an absolute delight.
The album was inspired by the Cincinnati Ballet and all the songs are originals co-written with Gordon Kennedy who also produced it. The result crosses all sorts of musical boundaries but every track has a unique quality and there is delightful simplicity coupled with some very complex themes.
Take the title song: the words describe a beautiful piece of treen, exquisitely carved and fashioned but inside is a hummingbird battering its wings as it tries to escape. The music features his guitar playing patterns and emulating the craftsmanship of the wood but the gently played cahon thuds away with a rhythm that suggests the frantic and constant fluttering of the bird’s wings. On the face of it simple and beautiful but there is a dark side too. His guitar playing here is a thing of wonder, so simply played but utterly lovely.
The next track ‘The One in 901’ is a powerful piece of fusion jazz, brilliantly recorded and once again showing what a talented guitar player Frampton is but as a stark contrast to the title track.
The closer is a remarkable bit of western swing styled playing celebrating … ‘Norman Wisdom’! Superb guitar and sweet harmonies and somehow it makes you want to revisit the old slapstick merchant.
There are seven tracks here and every one is a story in its own right. There isn’t anything that smacks of doing something because it is your trademark, everything has its own merit and the set is a delight.
He will be touring the US with his Guitar Circus this year – hopefully he will bring it over here because, as the Roundhouse show last year demonstrated, he has a lot of fans and they deserve this music too.
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