Steve Reid – Dream Scapes

Dream Scapes
Steve Reid
(Art 2 Ear Music – 2001)
by John Barrett

Originally presented at Walt Disney World, Dream Scapes is a celebration of dance, arresting visuals, and enticing music. (The CD includes part of the floorshow, in media files for your PC.) Everything shimmers with life: Brian Price plays many guitars on “Come Fly Away”, each weaving in and out of the mix. A synthesizer (Tim Redfield) rumbles like a bass; Steve Reid adds shakers, bells, and a thousand other decorations. Denene Jones is hopeful on “Feels Like Heaven”: her voice is frothy, aching, and very feminine. It’s a perfect pop production; maybe the drums are too busy, but all else works. The sax is ready for “Pillow Talk”: Jeff Kashiwa growls alto on the verse, and goes leaping through the chorus. Smooth-jazz on the surface, the arrangement has many things to listen for – and you’ve gotta hear Jeff on soprano.

Maxine Nightingale has an earthy chant on “Gypsy Moon”, and is plaintive on “More than Just a Dream”, which is a very nice ballad. Superficially like Deep Forest, this music is more involved, more substantial … and dreamy in a number of ways. Wooden blocks tumble at the start of ‘Dream Scapes”, a feature for Reid: a sampled flute is joined by (in succession) a massive bass drum, dozens of hand-drums, and the guitars of Price, ending in a rock-star solo. Kashiwa growls some heat on “Feels So Good, Feels So Right”” – sounds a lot like Nelson Rangell.

Carl Anderson opens “Keeper of One Love” with a majestic spoken intro: “Listen, I have only one wish, one promise/ And that should be to hold you forever in my heart.” Maxine oohs in the background while basses rumble and Carl shows the depth of his love. This is strong; this is real. The instrumental “Her World” is a fast runner” (the flute-like synth is a stunner) and the solo “Mango Punch” is a tune gone wild. As rainsticks rattle and wooden flutes caw, a balafon creeps along the earth – and in rolls the thunder. If you want primal emotions – such as love – here is a prime source.