This month I'm also reviewing New Age-ist Steven Halpern and his Theta 2.0 (here), but I'll take Sherry Finzer & Darin Mahoney's Transformation every day of the week over that, and chiefly because Darin Mahoney's a serious guitarist of the Windham Hill caliber and knows how to craft a mellifluous tune that burrows underneath the skin to set off airy wistful reminiscences of summer fading into autumn…and all the inevitable factors William Blake reminded us are incorporate in the spiritual transition of the Fall. In fact, Mahoney vividly re-evokes Windham Hill's latter days, when founder William Ackerman set about releasing beautiful LPs resuscitating what Ralph Towner and Oregon were doing in what's still the most serious entablature of a mode that became the New Age movement, well after so many failed to understand the chamber aspects Oregon had been crafting with Paul Winter and afterwards.
In fact, we find Mahoney at one point reached stage four cancer and had to be put into a medically induced coma for weeks in order to undergo radically nasty chemo-therapy. His parents played Ackerman's music while the guitarist was under, especially Will's The Impending Death of the Virgin Spirit, and Brian credits a good deal of his survival to his progenitors' intercession and that music. 10 years to the day after he got out of the hospital and began a long arduous rehabilitation, Windham Hill's mainman liked Brian's work so much that he flew in to produce a track on his debut CD (sorry, I can't find a date for that one).
Truth be told, I'd rather this had been a solo guitar CD, as Sherry Finzer's flute work, though it approaches classical beauty in cuts like Reflection, with its adagio format, is too often thin, only veneered above Mahoney's ruminations, insights, and sonic paintings. I've reviewed a lot of solo guitar CDs in FAME, and Mahoney's as good as any I've run across, especially the gents gravitating towards Satie's environments. Thus, am I criticizing Transformation on that merit alone? Yes I am, as I think you need to hear whatever this guy puts out. In proof, catch this video of him performing Woodland solo (What? Wait a minute! Can I do that in the middle of a review of another CD? Well, yes I can, I'm a critic, and we critics do as we damn well please in order to get great music across):
Then think about grabbing this CD.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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