A dazzling exploration of harmonic possibilities, Exploring Mars is a triumph!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
A very cerebral recording, Exploring Mars continues his influences drawn from a personal love of science fiction, Exploring Mars embraces an almost three dimensional sonic depth of field. The conceptual aspect causes only few minor bumps in the road as the spoken word passage on the buoyant "Spirit" adds very little if anything to a composition that is more than strong enough to stand on merit alone. Long story short, not everyone digs science fiction but then again you don't have to in order to appreciate Exploring Mars. "How You Loved Me On Mars" is a compelling ballad sure to tug at the heart strings while the Latin infused "Opportunity" smolders with passion.
Exploring Mars is an inventive and adventurous recording with the only downside that the appeal could be to a very limited audience. Nelson is critically acclaimed and for good reason thanks to his work with Natalie Cole and Sarah Gazarek. A cerebral journey going where no pianist has gone before. Really good, not great.
Tracklist1. Spirit 5:28
2. Sojourner 6:14
3. Memnonia Quadrangle (featuring Larry Koonse) 3:32
4. How You Loved Me on Mars 5:48
5. Opportunity 5:54
6. Solis Lacus, The Eye of Mars 2:39
7. Mars, the Bringer of War 6:53
8. Curiosity 7:44
9. Syrtis Major, The Hourglass Sea 2:20
10. Spirit 5:25
Line-up/MusiciansJosh Nelson - piano, trumpet, Nord Electro 3
John Daversa - trumpet and EVI
Larry Koonse - guitar
Dave Robaire - bass
Dan Schnelle - drums
Kathleen Grace - vocals
Alan Ferber - trombone
Brian Walsh - bass clarinet
Larry Goldings - B3 organ (4)