The ever-versatile John Roberts brings a visionary dexterity to his 3 Steps from Tomorrow, a wide-ranging album that capsulizes many of today's contemporary styles into one inspiring package. Judiciously mixing acoustic instruments with synthesizers, Roberts freely flits from style to style and mood to mood, yet retains a cohesiveness rooted in both his compositional skills and the underlying sensuous immediacy that runs through this work. The album opens with the jaunty exuberance of "The Days of My Youth," moving into the moody balladry of "Waiting for the Sun to Rise," complete with glowing sax, touches of sarod (played by Jai Uttal, who makes several contributions) and non-verbal vocal wails. Other tracks are, in turn, gentle, tropical and downright punchy, filled with dominant basslines, Eastern flourishes, flutes and dreamlike atmospheres. Guest artists include Bay Area musicians Robert Powell on pedal steel guitar, Tom Finch on guitar, Barbara Borden on drums and the multi-instrumentalist Jai Uttal. Robert's playful and adventurous spirit is perfectly captured in the truly striking cover picture of two Amazonian Indians walking through an extraterrestrial landscape.
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