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5th September 2013

Synthesis Review - The Road Ahead album


Review by Jaime O'Neill
First, the bad news. The penultimate track on this album is called “Overjoyed,” and it’s the turd in the punchbowl on an album that features some absolutely terrific guitar work by Albare, who is touted in the promotional copy as being Australia’s “most active jazz guitarist and composer.” Albare is an immigrant to the land down under, a native of Morocco who was raised in France and Israel before turning up in Australia at age 27. He’s been pretty busy since then, rapidly making a name for himself as the director of the Melbourne Jazz Festival and founder of the Australian Jazz Awards. But his best credentials are in the sound he lays down, and the compositions he writes. He composed all the songs here, except the aforementioned “Overjoyed,” which is a Stevie Wonder song of the sappy variety that sometimes appeals to jazz players when they want to add a vocal track. In this case, the strength and intelligence of the instrumental numbers only serve to point up how soft and dweeby that song is—an impression not helped by the mellifluous rendering by guest vocalist Allan Harris. But any album with a ratio of twelve good songs to one bad song is exceptional, and The Road Ahead is no exception to that rule. - 


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