Colin Mandel

Strange and Savage Tales

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AllMusic Review by

Strange and Savage Tales is a "showcase" release where Colin Mandel is so creative in many ways that he includes the best recordings that represent the many

aspects of his interests. These recordings span a four-year period of 1990 to 1994. There is tight and hard-hitting fusion rock of a complexly mixed Bill Connors-meets-Steve Morse nature. There is straight-up jazz guitar for that laid-back nightclub setting. There are syncopated yet dreamy Dixie Dregsian balladic progressions. Mandel deftly relaxes and brightly burns on his axe very similarly to Morse. Compositions warp and twist in a unique Mandel way. There is even acoustic solo guitar that weaves together a Will Ackerman and Alex de Grassi type of saunter -- a very Windham Hill moment! And for those needing avant-garde and experimental soundscapes, Mandel crafts one song in a way that even Robert Fripp fans would appreciate. They are odd guitar groanings that Bill Frisell and David Torn would applaud with flashes of even spontaneous whole-tonal funk. The final cut (perhaps in more ways than it appeared at the time), blends jazz fusion, progressive rock, and jazz into an outro that echoes Connors,

Allan Holdsworth, Morse, and even a nod to the math-rock of Fripp. For a taste of Mandel's chops finesse in his tightest fusion moments the first two tracks are suggested, "Manic Obsession" and "Strange and Savage Tales." A recommended listen.