Thursday, April 20, 2023

Our April Tigers By Michael Whalen


Our April Tigers


Michael Whalen

Written by

Steve Sheppard


We take a musical journey today, one that took me back personally some near on 20 years, a sojourn that would thrill my senses, and excite my imagination to the point of it being inspirational, as today I take a deeper look at Our April Tigers by Michael Whalen, an album that features the talents of Jeff Oster, Michael Brook, Karsh Kale and Michael Manring on every track.

Michael is a prolific composer, arranger, and musician of great quality and content, here on this latest album we have seven tracks of the highest quality you could ever imagine, and that first tentative footfall was the simply outstanding Over Water, a slow steady walk across a beach of sound lays here, one bathed in brilliant sunlight, and one must also applaud the bass of one of the finest in the business in Michael Manring on this slowly evolving opus, while we can watch and listen to Whalen’s mystical keyboards creating the paint for our musical brushes on a fantastically chilled opening offering.

We now push open the door to this next track entitled Disappear, Whalen’s electronic mastery is almost Berlin style here, but with much more colour and texture, also here within this piece lays one of the best trumpet and flugel horn players in the business in Jeff Oster, his mastery brought a true mournful delight to a composition, one that was wonderfully pacey without losing any musical cohesion.

Morning Bell took me back in time, when I was much younger and starting out on a career in musical radio, until 2003 I had been largely a reporter for news and sports channels and stations, but as I approached this time I would be one of a new breed of usual radio hosts that actually loved instrumental music, and wanted others to see its glory too, tracks like this one speak for the beauty that can be found in quality contemporary instrumental music, and this super group  of Whalen’s were certainly knocking it out of the park at the mid-way point of the release already.

So back in 2003 I would come across an artist called Karsh Kale, his percussion and sampling on this album is stunning, indeed as you would expect from a master of his art, just being able to listen to his work again on tracks like Visceral Organ is a blissful thing, for me, it marks a 20 years journey of playing pieces like Anja and Milan.

So Fragile is our fifth creation to sample, this must be one of the most chilled tracks off the album, it is as smooth as liquid silver and as fluent as an April sunrise, the bass of Manring deep and meaningful, and Whalen’s textured and caressing keyboards were simply sublime, a fine composition indeed, one bathed in the sparkling light of musical genius.

Michael Whalen’s super group combines the skill sets of four other artists other than himself, so now let’s mention the talented guitar virtuosity of one Michael Brook, a joint effort can be heard here on this superb piece entitled Hope Haunts, a song that moved me deeply, this is an arrangement of great reflection, as from the windows of the memory palace we gaze below to a soundtrack of sophisticated mastery.

So we conclude this amazing journey with the Whalen super group, with a final offering entitled Temporality, a reminder of each of the talents here within as a single entity of class, and as a collective of sheer talent. What a stunning fast paced creation to leave the audience with, one that will carry the listeners high on the shoulders of possibility, a pure electronic moment of flair manifested into a global fusion design of utter excellence.

Our April Tigers by Michael Whalen could very well be some of the best work we have seen from the master content creator and composer, collecting a super group of individual geniuses is always a tempting, yet sometimes fraught affair, but here Whalen has brought it all together with sublime precision and led his collective of craft, to bring into this world one of the finest examples of classic contemporary instrumental music with a global fusion twist you are ever likely to hear. Our April Tigers by Michael Whalen is an absolute must for any serious music aficionado. 

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