Your crusty chronicler is an individual who does his own thing. Still, when Examiner asked for support for their new “List” format, it was nigh impossible not to be open-minded about it. So, with that spirit of unity in mind, your rockin’ reviewer presents this series—“Track by Track” in which we review certain select CDs literally “track by track”.
In this edition we (ahem) examine Sandro Eristavi’s most recent release titled Blue Sharp Minor. For those not up on their indie artists, Sandro Eristavi is (in his own words): “a songwriter, singer, guitarist and percussionist.” He says: “Writing and performing music has been my lifelong passion.”
He works in the musical genres of “jazz, bossa nova, blues and bluessanova.” Eristavi elaborates on his musical mission: “My mission (is) to do what I love to do and what I’m good at — making music, to inspire the world with it (and) to make a living through it.”
(View the photos to learn more about the music.)
The 11-track offering opens with a literary reference titled “If”. It’s poetry both musically and lyrically as Eristavi dedicates his musical adaptation of Kipling’s poem, “If”, to his son, Nicholas. Tamara Eristavi, his sister, provides backing vocals thus giving the interesting and cultured cut what Sandro calls “that jazzy, airy feel.”
“A Letter to a Business Woman”
The Second song on this largely one-man show is the popular “A Letter to a Business Woman”. This like the remainder of the material here is an original Eristavi. This focuses on one of those life moments that might be humorous to you but perhaps nearly heartbreaking to the person experiencing it. It features a guitar solo by Californian guitarist Erwin Lui and has a confessed Beck influence to it.
The next number is “9:05PM Blues”. This, like the prior piece, was written in the 1980s. In fact, Eristavi states: “I started working on this album back in the mid-eighties when I was still living in Russia and continued after moving to California in ’91.” This is essentially his tuneful take on what he calls “mishandled freedom” complete with memorable guitar and bass solos.
The song “So Slow” follows. This is very much a stand-out blues track. In fact, Eristavi himself refers to it as “blue-blue-blues.” Here he takes his own “sweet time” sending out a musical message complete with “nods to Jeff Beck and (the trumpet of) Louis Armstrong.” This was actually recorded live during his video sessions.
“Tell Me” and “Upside Down Blues”
“Tell Me” tunefully takes over with some reggae-tinged blues. This is one of his more recent recordings and works well on the disc to further demonstrate his influences and interests. It is followed by “Upside Down Blues” which sometimes sounds like an instrument is actually being played upside down and other times sounds like the sheet music was flipped upside down—either way it’s clever and still maintains a bit of that smoke-filled bar sound.
“Eyes of Your Soul”
The seventh serving here is titled “Eyes of Your Soul”. It is a very acoustic-sounding selection. It’s also one of the more recent compositions on the CD. Eristavi elaborated on it stating that the cut is an “all acoustic-nylon-brush, hard swinging, head resetting piece.” (Some of his tunes definitely have a cathartic feel to them.)
“Lost in Me”
The eighth offering is “Lost in Me”. Written last year, this one obviously exhibits an effort on the artist’s part to classically communicate something somehow romantic. He says the cut was influenced by “some Parisian accordion and some Rachmaninov.” It brings to mind mental images of walking through the streets of some foreign locale and ends with a “summer thunderstorm.”
“Red Pill, Blue Pill”
Not having seen The Matrix in years, the influence of this film on the tune “Red Pill, Blue Pill” was initially lost on your rockin’ reviewer. Ah but one simply cannot miss the influences of such classic rock acts as Deep Purple and even Pink Floyd on this blues rock bit. Just listen.
The most recent composition comes next on the album. “Slow Blues” is dedicated to the late Alvin Lee who was once the frontman for the Brit band Ten Years After. Lee had a strong influence on Eristavi.
Lee influenced Eristavi’s “musical tastes and guitar playing.” He adds: “Alvin’s playing got me hooked on blues and infected me with the dream of this album and now his passing turned out to be the reason for the song completing the album, sadly.”
The closing cut in the interesting instrumental “Galaxy”. While this particular piece seems a bit out there in more ways than one Eristavi explains that “its significance on this album will be revealed with” future releases and believes that “fans of Pink Floyd and King Crimson/Robert Fripp” will appreciate this long-player.
All in all, the work does contain a healthy mix of influences and touches of multiple genres with a little bit of personal perspective to boot. Sandro Eristavi’s Blue Sharp Minor may be just what you’re looking for “If” you’re searching for something beyond simple, “Slow Blues”.
My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.