The Meeting Place
Positive Music Records, Inc.
Date: January 23, 2007
has happened again. If you’ve followed Ken Navarro, you know exactly
what is meant by that statement. This talented songwriter and artist has
once and yet again delivered a singular masterpiece of an album that
showcases his mastery as a technician, his spirit as a composer and the
heart and soul of a man totally in control of his musical life.
There is a certain precision to “The Meeting Place” that is new and
distinctive. It’s calculated and purposeful, designed to uncontrollably
force the listener to ride the frets and guitar strings with this
master. Long-time Navarro fans will hear all the familiar riffs, hooks
and find that comfort level that brought them to his music in the first
place. This time however, those fans will also hear the variety of
style, skill, influences and musicality that previously might have been
the sole centerpiece of a project. Navarro delivers it and in a full,
frontal assault compels the listener to dream, toe tap, snap fingers,
and be enchanted and amazed. An excellent combination of everything
you’ve always loved about Ken Navarro…all in one meeting place.
He’s done all the right things too; surrounding himself with the
comforts of his own studio, production and familiar, talented musicians.
His session and tour buds like Jay Rowe on keyboards, Gary Grainger on
bass, and Andre “Blues” Webb holding down the strong rhythms and their
changes on drums. Rob Holmes’ work on the tenor and soprano saxes is
coordinated beautifully to lend the consistent “Navarro styles” and the
percussion of Kevin Price is delicately intermingled on select pieces,
always at the right time.
There is not a mediocre tune on this album. Some songs will take you to
faraway lands, some will have you dancing on a beach (as in “Dancing
With Melissa” from his Island Life CD, in particular the song “My
Beautiful Girls”), Another, “The Challenge” that will deliver you from
Copacabana to feeling the vibes of a Yes or Santana concert and then
back again. Remember how in the past Navarro could send you figuratively
underwater to swim with dolphins in his Love Coloured Soul song “Glass
Dolphins”? The power to put you there happens again when you feel the
spiritual struggle of “No Other Way”, or simply enjoy a glass of fine
red cruising towards a setting sun in “That Time of Evening”. His unique
ability to teleport you with his guitar and style have come more alive
than ever on this album and like the musical magician he is, you’re in a
different place every time.
If one has to choose a highlight, it could perhaps be his rendition of
the Metheny tune “Lakes”. One needs to have only spent a few hours with
Metheny’s music to understand the strong influence and appreciation
Navarro brings for this guitar great. In a moment of musical perfection,
Metheny is rendered the ultimate compliment with Navarro’s capture of
this beautiful piece. The song rivets to Jay Rowe’s prowess on the keys
also and affords all of the musicians the opportunity to shine in a
magnificent piece of engineering. However, Navarro’s work and soul all
come home on this one and it will leave you breathless!
“The Meeting Place” is the chance to enjoy a consummate and talented
musician, very much at home with himself and his accomplishments. This
in and of itself is a wonderful place to be, but when he beckons you in
to the places he’s set for you, you’ll let go willingly and succumb to
the musical trance and enjoyment of this wonderful album. Something
you’ll want with you at all times, no matter what the mood or setting.