Chris Adams Intimacy90Chris Adams brings his passion and his considerable guitar skills center stage on his new solo project, Intimacy....

Chris Adams
iMusician Digital
11 tracks / 42:54

Technique, passion, and tone are what Chris Adams' guitar playing is all about, and those elements are much in evidence on his latest project, Intimacy. Very much in the school of classic rock era guitarists, Adams combines some of the tonal elements of Frank Zappa, the phrasing of Kerry Livgren and the passion of Leslie West, creating a melodic playground of (mostly) instrumental rock ballads. Eight of the eleven tracks are instrumentals, usually featuring Adams on all of the instruments.

Most of the songs are originals, with the exception of "Dust in the Wind" (which appears first with vocals, then four tracks later as a differently-arranged instrumental) and a vocal-free version of Hendrix' "Little Wing."

The most up-beat song here is "From Spain With Love," which is freely adapted from Rodrigo's Guitar Concerto on a decidedly rocking electric guitar. Most of the other songs are slower-paced and build up in intensity, especially when Adams switches from acoustic to electric guitar. A prime example is the excellent opening track, "Under the Shadows," which starts with a lush combination of piano, drums, bass, and acoustic guitar – the track explodes with a scorching solo from Adams, who wisely allows us to hear as the switches hit the guitar's pick-ups just before the passionate runs wave over the melody.

"Mercy" is one of the most accessible songs, introduced by a baby's laughter and featuring the vocals of Javier Ballester, singing, "The games people play – day, by day, by day. ...been this way before – a long, lost distant shore. I can see your footsteps in the sand.... Mercy, mercy..." The sad-sounding melody is accented by Adams' very Livgren-esque licks played tastefully between phrases, then breaking out into a full, fluid solo against a backing wash of electric guitar notes played in harmony.

Certainly, the guitar work of Chris Adams is the star of this album – not to diminish his excellent drum, bass and keyboard work. As is the case in any album featuring mainly one creative force, the danger is to fall into a comfort zone, which Adams might need to be careful about – although his technique and skill make that comfort zone a pretty good place to hang out in! I would think that the next logical step would be a band project – maybe even a live recording – where Adams could be in an environment where his music could be explored in a more flexible space.

Until then, enjoy Chris Adams in a decidedly intimate experience, pouring out his musical passion on Intimacy – available at Amazon, through Chris' website and elsewhere.

-Bert Saraco

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