Jamie Craig


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On his first instrumental album, The Lost Dream, Detroit-based synthesizer player Jamie Craig made music that recalled the progressive rock of the 1970s. Illumination has some of the same sound, but it is closer to the new age and smooth jazz styles. Craig uses his synthesizers to mimic actual instruments as well as to make new sounds in full arrangements that resemble a group of players, including a rhythm section of drums and bass, plus, depending on the track, piano, reeds, and/or horns. If the result on this album comes off less like rock, it's because the rhythms tend to be more fluid and the melody lines more developed. Craig's track titles and the short explanations he gives for each might suggest a variety of musical styles -- one is called "To Nola with Love," with Nola referring to New Orleans, and another "San Juan," as in the capitol of Puerto Rico. But there's no Cajun or Latin feel to such numbers. Rather, the album is of a piece, musically. It doesn't quite aspire to smooth jazz in the sense that there isn't much in the way of jazz improvising. Craig is more a composer than a virtuoso. So, Illumination ends up fitting best into the new age category, with its series of engaging, but never challenging, instrumental tracks.

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