Orpheus – Visions

Think about a mixture of George Duke and Lonnie Liston Smith. Jarrod Lawson is behind this project called Orpheus and has played almost all instruments on this instrumental album which is now also available on beautiful orange vinyl. The opening track, “Arrival”, really reminds me of some of the meditative Lonnie Liston Smith stuff on his Flying Dutchman output of the early 80s. Warm keys and synths, some backing vocals, adding up to a soothing, elegant sound staying away from becoming too kitschy or pretentious. George Duke also used those synths on some of his earlier stuff (is it a Korg ARP Odyssey?).

Orpheus "Visions"

Jarrod also plays plain piano here, too, like on “Follow Me”, a slightly Latin-tinged groover, again with some back-up vocals and svelte percussion and once again, without blaming him to just sound like a copy (which he sure isn’t because of his pretty unique style of composing and arranging), the George Duke comparison is pretty obvious. Actually I’m glad that the Duke somehow lives on. If anyone can follow his footsteps, it’s got to be Jarrod. Saving it from becoming too polished, Jarrod also comes up with more quirky sounds and beats on “Phantasmagoria” and adds a good slice of soul and funkiness on “Moon Halos”. More variety is offered on “Ascension” with some housey Latin touches featuring some great flute playing courtesy of John Nastos.

I like the thick, fat keys and synths of the jam-packed “Gamma Soirée”and it’s the warmth and class and sheer beauty of pieces like “Sea Of Serenity” and “Lull” which always hit home.


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