Forbearance, Carl Orr, review by John McBeath

carl orr

Album:  Forbearance
Artist:   Carl Orr
Release Date: 2016
Label:    Independent

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Ex-pat Australian guitarist/composer Carl Orr has been London-based since the nineties where he’s appeared with some very impressive names: Billy Cobham, Randy Brecker, Ernie Watts, and many others.

Orr has often been an exponent of jazz fusion using heavy guitar distortion, but this, his eighth album, is a soft and melodic world away from that genre. The guitarist speaks of this music as his contribution towards creating a peaceful, harmonious world.

His acoustic guitar is beautifully recorded in this London production, with a host of sidemen over eleven tracks, nine of which are originals.

The opener and title track is a perfect introduction to the collection with Orr’s solo classical guitar and added glockenspiel delivering a semi-classical sounding piece of deeply calming ambience, beautifully played.

American Daydream continues the tranquil mood, adding rhythm via piano, organ, bass, drums and percussion, while the largest ensemble – of thirteen members, including vocalist Jasmine Nelson plus strings, brass and reeds – undertakes Lennon/McCartney’s Mother Nature’s Son in a quietly restrained rendition.

Although lyric-less, the title People Need Healthcare, Not Guns conveys Orr’s social conscience, and as with many of these pieces Ironbridge with guitar and string quartet has a decidedly folk feel conveyed in a softly melodic way.

This unassuming and peaceful collection goes a long way towards achieving Orr’s stated aim ‘to make the listener feel calm, optimistic and invigorated.’ Although it utilises some jazz features the album is really more of a soothing, mood-inspired portfolio of quiescent classical/folk, an ideal accompaniment for an afternoon of relaxed daydreaming.

Review originally published by the Australian

For just over 24 years I have been a freelance writer, publishing in that time a wide variety of genres: news items, live concert reviews, travel articles, features, personality profiles, and CD and book reviews. I have written for various in-flight magazines, The Adelaide Review, The Republican, The Bulletin, The Australian, The Advertiser, The Melbourne Herald Sun and several regional newspapers. In 1994 I won a national travel-writing prize sponsored by The Australian newspaper, which led to my writing regularly for that paper. Since 2003 I have been jazz critic for The Advertiser and The Australian newspapers, on average contributing weekly to each paper. In 2005 I won a national Jazz Writing Competition sponsored by the Wangaratta Jazz Festival.