RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Dennis Haklar – Lizard’s Tale
Floating White Lotus

www.dennishaklar.com

Rating: B+

Dennis Haklar, while a very impressive jazz guitarist, is far from a household name, yet on his debut album, he was joined by Jon Anderson, of Yes fame on vocals, and jazz icon Larry Coryell on guitar.

Just how did he do this? Dennis explains, “A few years ago I began to collaborate over the internet with Jon Anderson on a large-scale work. Charka Music, very involved. I had also sent him some music I had written. He sang on several pieces and we continue to collaborate. When I was working on composing the music to 'Lizard's Tale', I had sent Jon four compositions we had just recorded in the studio – 'Leap Of Faith', 'Prelude To Dawn', 'Dawn Of An Era' and 'Crossing Over'. He quickly responded with the perfect vocal tracks and really helped convey the meaning of the songs. I love working with Jon!" As far as connecting with guitar legend Larry Coryell, says Dennis, “I had known Larry Coryell for several years studying jazz improvisation and composition with him. I had presented some songs to him that I was preparing for this project and asked if he would be interested in playing on the recording session and producing it. He agreed and we got to work straight away. We had composed the title track in one sitting. As the project developed we had agreed that the best rhythm section for this would be bassist Mark Egan and drummer Thierry Arpino."

Jon Anderson was excited to be part of this special project, “Dennis Haklar asked me to sing on his very inspired album earlier this year, we had already been working on a large scale project dealing with Ancient Asian music, so it was such fun to hear what he was creating. I said I would enjoy singing ideas as they came to me, and to join vocally with such great musicians. It has been a pleasure for me to sing on this album, I hope that people will find time to relax and enjoy."

Even Larry Coryell was pleased with the music. “This was a great session - it was a real 'Jersey-New York' thing complete with bedbugs in the hotel down the street from the studio, which was either too hot or too cold - plus there was all kinds of equipment and mechanical problems. Nothing went smoothly - hence it was a great record, sometimes it's like that. Dennis's European- inspired work ethic also paid off - especially for his compositions and arrangements. One twelve-string part he wrote for me was not easy to play, and he was makin' me sweat - but I got it after he showed me the correct fingering. Mark Egan and Thierry Arpino were superb - we've been playing together for some years now, and they are a tight team. I was blown away by the beautiful contribution made by the great Jon Anderson - I've always been a fan, and he certainly has evolved to a special place in the vocal spectrum. And so in tune!! It was a crazy session - and a good one - that's why I nicknamed this date as 'Denny and the Mad Hungarians'."

The music is very peaceful and emotional and it should be as the concept behind the album is awareness. This is all about using music to promote peace and harmony in our lives. Maybe one could best describe this as Hippie Jazz. Whatever one calls it, the fact remains this is a great collection of music, made with passion that is easy on both the ears and the soul of the listener.

By Jeb Wright

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