Patrick Hazell

Vicksburg

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On Vicksburg's first disc, The Battlefield at Night Patrick Hazell explores some unique musical territories. Some fall into the category of chanting, with almost a spiritual feel to them. One of the longer pieces is found on track 13, which contains some impressive and captivating chanting by Hazell. If one is searching for some great harmonica, then track seven on the first disc comes highly recommended because of the excellent Dixie-style phrases. None of the tracks from the album are titled and some appear to continue with hardly a break between them. The concept of the album is to commemorate the siege at Vicksburg during the Civil War. Hazell uses only instruments from the era -- the harmonica, which was becoming popular at the time, as well as instruments like the bugle, marching drum, and flute. He also weaves in melodies with his original compositions which are from the Civil War era. Hazell recommends that the listener not listen to these recordings through headphones, as there are a number of cannon blasts which are not pleasing when presented through headphones. The second disc, The Battlefield at Dawn, has similar characteristics as the first disc but with far less chanting. The first song on the disc has the most melodic charisma displayed by Hazell's harmonica skills. The rest of the songs have more of a soundtrack essence, along with some that have a strong mystical flavor. As with all of Hazell's compilations, one should be ready to experience something unique when listening to Vicksburg. The question may arise as to whether Hazell's music is genius or merely eccentric; either way, Hazell's music is an exhilarating and original adventure.