Benjamin Croft – 10 Reasons To… (2019)

Benjamin Croft - 10 Reasons To... (2019)
Artist: Benjamin Croft
Album: 10 Reasons To…
Genre: Jazz Rock / Fusion
Origin: UK
Released: 2019
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps
Tracklist:
100 Years At Sea Introduction 01:38
100 Years At Sea 06:00
One Million Years At Sea 01:32
Bad Reputations 05:35
T.T.E (Time, Talent, And Electricty) 05:35
The Sycophant 05:08
The Whispering Knight 05:44
No Oil For Sale Here 05:34
The Legend Of Bray 05:17
Inside Immortality 01:29
See You In Another Lifetime 06:04
For Future Past 06:48

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British keyboardist and composer Benjamin Croft began piano and trumpet lessons at age seven and later earned a BA (Hons) Music degree at Leeds College of Music. In his debut album 10 Reasons To…, Croft dedicates four tracks to his heroes Allan Holdsworth, Keith Emerson, Christopher Lee, and Gustav Mahler. A disparate bunch to be sure, but Croft’s compositions, written over a period of two years, hang together surprisingly well.

A dark recitation over the atmospheric “100 Years At Sea Introduction” channels Vincent Price’s famous voiceover on Michael Jackson’s Thriller (Epic Records, 1982), which is appropriate since the piece is dedicated to Edgar Allan Poe. This melodramatic precursor soon drifts away into the more substantial jazz-rock of “100 Years At Sea.” Benet McLean’s violin was crucial on the opener and he plays an even more prominent role here. McLean establishes the catchy melody over lustrous electric piano, often evincing a sound similar to early Jean-Luc Ponty, particularly when he double-stops. The short, synthesizer-rich “One Million Years At Sea” is considerably heavier than its predecessor, but “Bad Reputations” calms things down a tad. McLean’s violin, soaring into the highest registers, is again of critical importance here.

“T.T.E (Time, Talent And Electricity),” written in memory of the late Keith Emerson, contains a subtle sideswipe at DJ John Peel, who criticized Emerson, Lake & Palmer as being a “waste of time, talent, and electricity.” Andy Davies also plays some elegant flugelhorn on this track. McLean delivers more Ponty-esque progressive jazz on “The Sycophant” and even manages to insert a short quote from John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme. (Impulse!, 1965). The elegiac “No Oil For Sale Here,” written for Gustav Mahler, contains more of Davies’s sumptuous flugelhorn. “The Legends Of Bray” is a gently lugubrious paean to actor Christopher Lee, with McLean’s echoey violin conjuring an appropriately plangent mood. Croft works overtime with synthesizers and piano on the intricate progressive rock of “See You In Another Lifetime.” On the majestic “Future Past,” dedicated to Allan Holdsworth, the voice of the late Peter Miles (also heard on the first track), ironically intones the words of Dylan Thomas’s poem “And Death Shall Have No Dominion.”
By ROGER FARBEY