CROZ, a Masterful Musical Effort, 19 years in the Making

David Crosby is American music icon.  Born in Los Angeles on August 14, 1941, Crosby has led a varied oft times controversial life. He was a founding member of two widely known classic pop-rock bands: The Byrds and Crosby Stills and Nash.

 


It has been nearly two decades since the last Crosby solo album.  On January 28th, 2014 Crosby released his latest collection entitled, “CROZ”.

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The lyric content displays a varied set of themes that David had to express in his own personal way. He takes a few steps into politics, a few steps into nostalgia and one big leap into defining the human condition as he sees it. The album combines  funky light jazz with Crosby’s roots-y folk feel to create a wonderfully unique sonic pallet from which the stories are told.

In November 2013, he spoke with Rolling Stone, about the album. He said, “I wanted to challenge myself. Most guys my age would have done a covers record or duets on old material. This won’t be a huge hit.  It’ll probably sell nineteen copies. I don’t think kids are gonna dig it, but I’m not making it for them. I’m making it for me. I have this stuff that I need to get off my chest.”

The album opens with the song WHAT’S BROKEN written by pianist and Crosby’s son James Raymond.  It is a soaring high point in many ways. The lyrics lay out a bleak American landscape full of “frozen language”, the isolation of modern living, the desperation of forces beyond the control of the individual and the startling realizations that truth is not always true. The music is a restrained yet percolating underlay of light jazz piano performed by Raymond and tightly knit drumming by Steve DiStanilao. Mark Knopfler‘s stylistic electric guitar takes the track to higher place with his inspired and tasty fills. I can feel the hair on the back of neck bristling as he takes flight in his distinctive and soaring way.

On the next rack TIME I HAVE, written by Crosby,  he talks about what he needs to do with the limited time he has, (that we all have) in this life. It’s a haunting lyric that makes a great many points about life inthes United States and though he doesn’t name names,  it’s pretty obvious what he’s thinking about many issues.

HOLDING ON TO NOTHING seems to a David Crosby daydream set to music in the way a Monet splashes color on a canvas. It’s a look inside his mind on a day like anyother. Winton Marsalis adds flashes of jazz unfused light and the fretless bass of kevin McCormick feels like the perfect accompaniment.

RADIO is a call to action.  A call to all the citizens of America,  and in a greater sense the entire world.  Time to get to work to save our brothers and sisters from the rising tides of ignorance, intolerance and indifference. The lyric is gentle but the message quite powerful.  “And your hands are slippery, the wind is strong, the boat is rocking, the world is storm, your hands are slippery, you feel like turning away to run free, your hands are slippery but you can pull someone out of the sea.”

SET THAT BAGGAGE DOWN is friendly piece of advice for a generation lost in time.  It’s a cautionary tale presented to the Baby Boomers.  “Let that baggage down..every girl that left you…every friend that ran…everything that broke you…bury it in the sand!”

Crosby and son James Raymond collaborate on another high point of the collection entitled,”DANGEROUS NIGHT”.  Once again Crosby lays himself bare for all to see as he searches for the answers in this lifetime. His indictments not only point out the confusion of the world around us,  but the feelings he has that perhaps we are powerless to affect real changes in a world of isolation.  He searches for that “someone who won’t give up in the frozen rain, who’ll walk right next to me through the orchards and the grain”.  Few of us find those life companions as we travel the earthly journey.

The collection ends with the song FIND A HEART.  Crosby asks us to dig deeply into a place where we can  find our own voice…our own peace and our own language. It’s a peace to “make you whole”, a passage to “illumination”. He suggests we make our deepest heart  “open” so we can reach in and touch it. He wants us to be in touch with that part of ourselves that is so deep and open that we can find a true course to peace.  The music track swirls around the lyric, caressing and lifting the words into a spiritual realm. By finding our own deepest voice can we then reach out and touch those around us in a more meaningful and complete way.

This collection music is a wonderful experience.  I’d highly recommend you find a copy and listen to this music.  A couple of times. Maybe several times!

 

 

 

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2 Responses to CROZ, a Masterful Musical Effort, 19 years in the Making

  1. Joanne F says:

    Nice review. I remember you saying this CD spoke to you. The one that speaks to me right now is “Cheek to Cheek”, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. Croz might not approve, since it is a CD of duets, but if you love the Great American Songbook as I do, you will find this to be an outstanding CD. Every song on it means something to me, some even are metaphors for my life, and I hear every jazz musical loved one of mine playing on it. I think this is what CROZ means to you, too. I’ll try to check out some of the tunes, especially those with jazz influence.

  2. joeref says:

    Crosby has well known political stances but I don’t think that that’s the overriding feeling coming from this collection of music. I think he has approached it in a more poetic way. I don’t think that he doesn’t approve of duets. I thgi nk he means to say it wasn’t the right thing for him to do at this juncture. He still had original material to explore and interpret. I enjoy the Great American Songbook but I think it’s a different experience entirely. Take a listen. It’s pretty great.

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