Ken Navarro | Dreaming of Trains

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Jazz: Contemporary Jazz Jazz: Jazz Fusion Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Dreaming of Trains

by Ken Navarro

This is Ken Navarro's 19th CD release and is the follow up to his breakthrough release of 2008, The Grace of Summer Light which was named the #1 Contemporary Jazz CD of 2008 by Jazz Times magazine.
Genre: Jazz: Contemporary Jazz
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Dream So Real
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2:47 album only
2. Self Propelled
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4:46 album only
3. True Stories
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8:44 album only
4. Dreaming of Trains
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8:28 album only
5. The Buzz
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4:36 album only
6. Shared Air
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5:43 album only
7. Everything Being Is Dancing
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5:43 album only
8. The Stars, The Snow, The Fire
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7:24 album only
9. Gymnopedie No. 1
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3:04 album only
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
This is Ken Navarro's 19th CD release and is the follow up to his breakthrough release of 2008, The Grace of Summer Light which was named the #1 Contemporary Jazz CD of 2008 by Jazz Times magazine. Featured musicians include Jay Rowe from Special EFX and the Marion Meadows band, Tom Kennedy from the Al DiMeola band and the Mike Stern band and Joel Rosenblatt from Spyro Gyra. These 9 new recordings are built around strong melodic themes which flow perfectly within each composition. The reason a group of songs with this level of complexity can be so accessible is because they are beautiful, diverse, and there isn't the dissonance that is often the hallmark of progressive and fusion projects. Complex solos, arrangements and rhythms? Yes. Self serving edginess? No.


to write a review

Phil Traynor

Effortless and Fluid...
The new CD “Dreaming of Trains” by Ken Navarro (released nationally on March 16th 2010) is a dazzling display of multiple talents by the versatile guitarist. Navarro’s 19th release in a prolific and acclaimed career sparkles with innovation and delight at every turn. What struck me almost immediately, and kept on striking me throughout the disc, is a fearless sense of movement. Navarro leaps from tone center to tone center with joyous abandon, changes meter with deft ebullience, changes tempo midstream, shuffles mode at will. What might seem to the casual listener to be an overly cerebral, self-absorbed tactic, it is really nothing of the sort; to me, it is a gleeful statement of personal ideas that invites you to follow along; and rewards your tenacity with dimension, harmonic complexity, and textured nuance. The title cut is a tension-filled, ethereal piece, that demonstrates not only Navarro’s micrometered set of chops, but also showcases his deft arranging sense and atmospheric production sensibilities. I’m thrilled to hear such incredible attention to detail in the drum and percussion tracks; so often neglected on albums by solo instrument artists. The sound field is deep, wide, and focused, with a clarity that will startle you. Drummer Joel Rosenblatt (Manhattan Transfer, Spyro Gyra) is a true craftsman, and his work on this disc crackles with energy, and yet is settled, effortless, and compelling; while Navarro’s presentation of the percussion is upfront, deliberate, and meticulous. Navarro’s signature smoothness and even-handed playing is a joy to behold throughout the disc. His versatility in migrating from clean nylon string work to funky distortion and back in “The Buzz” is especially noteworthy. “Brazilian-phase” Metheny-esque influences can be heard in “Dream So Real”, but Navarro makes it his own with chordal movement and arranging density that creates a lush and precipitating atmosphere. The gentle giddiness of “Self Propelled” is leavened by a wonderful, modal planing eleventh/dominant harmonic sensibility that makes the resolutions truly satisfying. True Stories is a multi-movement tour de force with a riveting doubled melody and global feel that once again harkens the best of Metheny/Mays. “Shared Air” has a relentless throb, a fascinating counterpoint to the gentility of the melody. The subtlety of the drummer is brought into focus again on this piece. “Everything Being is Dancing” just flat boogies. A little clav feel, laid-back and funky drums, suddenly ornamented with a dense harmonic palette, with nuanced and sensitive bass work by Tom Kennedy (Al DiMeola, Dave Weckl), and perhaps the most spirited and inspired Navarro soloing on the disc. Breathless work. “The Stars, The Snow, The Fire” makes beautiful use of odd-meter’s levitating effects on a groove. Seamless transitions into swing and then into 4/4, then back punctuate the symphonic nature of the song. Keyboardist Jay Rowe (Special EFX, Marion Meadows) is particularly mesmerizing in this piece. The closer, Erik Satie’s “Gymnopedie No. 1” is an interesting counterpoint to the rest of the CD. While it is flawlessly executed, expressive, and interesting, I couldn’t help but wonder if the continuity of the album wasn’t compromised just a tad by this piece’s inclusion. I wasn’t bothered by it, but I did notice. A minor blemish at most (and I really had to nitpick to find this fault) on what is a genuinely riveting CD. If this is not up for Grammy® consideration, I shall be truly astounded. Get it. Now.

Sandy Shore Review
One of Contemporary Jazz’s premier guitarists, Ken Navarro has always managed to forge the way to deeper, more meaningful music composition, production and artistry all the while maintaining a musical accessibility that keeps his fans motivated and continues to attract a new, global audience. DREAMING OF TRAINS, an eloquent concept album, is Navarro’s 19th recording to date. This artful album showcases his guitar playing as well as mandolin, banjo, keyboards and percussion offerings, plus mixing and mastering skills. I have personally been moved over the years by Ken’s focus and commitment to his craft; however, his last two releases have me spellbound by the level of integrity he brings to his art… DREAMING OF TRAINS is an evolution of artistry featuring A-Team players including Spyro Gyra’s drummer, Joel Rosenblatt. DREAMING OF TRAINS pulls you in like the sound of a train in the distance and also exhilarates like the rhythm of movement of the wheels on the rails. Navarro delivers another sophisticated jazz recording of songs that range from funk and fusion to soothing relaxing… All aboard!