SCOTT JEFFERS / TRAVELER – Shadows And Dust

Scott Jeffers 2002

SCOTT JEFFERS / TRAVELER –
Shadows And Dust

Back on track, American folk-rock band take a heady trip around the globe.

Issued around the same time as "Mystic Journey" – Scott Jeffers’ collaboration with piano player Masami Asahina – this album couldn’t be more different from its delicate companion: getting back into a band mode, the American violinist took his vigor, if not fierceness, to the fore and let it rip on a fine array of originals. All, as usual, steeped in various cultures the numbers of “Shadows And Dust” sweep through the Old World’s musical landscape with a sense of ultimate liberty – as befits an artist who finally found a firm platform to rock and roll across frontiers.

So while opener “Rising Sun” seems rather cautious in its initial Eastern-flavored strum, Scott’s vocals creeping between the licks of oud, there’s a whiff of adventure set in from the off, before the flamenco-laced “Mystical Dreams” turns transparency into epic drift towards mirage-like dunes – accompanied by dry, yet increasingly alluring groove – where the tribe of kindred spirits await to join voices in a chorus and take the finale of “Gypsy Woman” for irresistible Romani swirl. Fiddle ablaze, instrumental “Zergenász” moves to puszta, with Bartók-esque forays into classical motifs, but the album’s titular piece offers dramatic inroads in theatrical myths, the entire ensemble weaving their magic to trap the listener and not allow to leave until the sprawling raga and chants of “One” mesmerize even the most alert mind.

That’s when “Bouzukis Bazerkis” finds the group on the Mediterranean shore, chained for a frenzied bout of sirtaki and going over the hill and far away, the echoes of vocals adding depth to this aural image and leading to the meandering mystery of “Alia” in which Jeffers’ singing will shine ever so bright. And then there’s the infectious, electrifying, albeit wordless, “Morrigan” landing the band in Celtic domain – the place Scott would return to every now and again. It’s a trip which could have been possible without neither shadows nor dust: once they had settled, a new journey began.

*****

January 4, 2022

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