David Friesen follows up his excellent debut album Star Dance with a program of original compositions that advances both his spiritual center and his love for the music of the ensemble Oregon. Though never officially a member of Oregon -- that space is always reserved for Glen Moore -- it seems he would fit in naturally, and displays that compatibility by employing Ralph Towner and Paul McCandless for this effort. Percussionist Jim Saporito, drummer Bob Moses, and electric guitarist John Stowell are also included, making for a group that fully understands how Friesen's religious beliefs and love of nature easily factor into his organic, contemporary jazz-influenced sound. Unlike Star Dance, there's no tour de force music here, but the title track is close to being classic in its galloping pace, guitar and English horn unison, with a wonderful flute solo from the usual baritone saxophonist Nick Brignola. Towner and Stowell prove compatible partners on acoustic and electric guitars respectively for the lovely "Spring Wind," a wedding song in beats of four and six that would be perfect for an outdoor nuptial ceremony in the woods. The two plectrists also show up together on "Song of Switzerland" which is neutral between Towner's strummings and the wafting oboe of McCandless. "Dancing Spirits Before the Lord" is memorable in that it echoes the Oregon concept, as the instruments all chime in agreement, a pretty but quick piece. There are several overdubbed solo tracks by Friesen, including the improvised "French Festival," a patient, strummed "The Peace That Passes Understanding," a stereo separated "Flight of the Angels," and the virtuoso display during "Song of the Stars" where the bassist's awesome technique takes on many bowed and plucked stances. Because of the solo pieces, this is a more self-indulgent, but no less impressive effort from Friesen, thankfully once again in print on compact disc.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos