Their Pop (or sorta) Album
R. L. MILLER | FT LAUDERDALE FL USA | 07/25/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"At the time this album came out, VH-1 had a late-night show called "New Visions", which featured a lot of the more popular New Age material. Since a lot of material in that genre was either too acoustic for even cableplay, and a lot was ambient and too long for an hourlong show, the same material got played over and over, broken up by a bit of progressive jazz here and there. New Age purists didn't like the jazz because you're supposed to hate jazz. One of the tunes from this album saw a lot of play on the show--the vocal track "What Goes Around". Another track featured here is "Maceo", an afro-Caribbean-sounding number that comes across more of a parody than a true derivative. Don't let this track put you off if you decide to explore beyond here in their body of work. It depends on which albums you buy as to what Shadowfax you get. The Windham Hill period is more New Age influenced, while their later material tends to be a less funky than usual jazz fusion. The twin lead instruments (fortunately the chart-aimed contract-obligatory vocal stuff is fairly rare) are an amplified but not electronic violin and a sax player who spends more time on the Lyricon wind synth doing woodwind-sounding voicings. The jazz purists will tell you that Shadowfax's material isn't improvisational enough to be jazz. The New Age purists will lament that a rhythm section adds an element of stress that's incompatible with the whole New Age ethos. So maybe it's neither. Maybe it's best to ignore both groups and pay attention to how these guys wrote and played. And maybe you'll come away regretful that this band is no longer in business."