There are few people who are multi-talented these days. Artists who play both a musical instrument and write their own music are difficult to come by. If you had to name one that revolutionized a genre with these abilities you would have to reach as far back as Prince. For someone to combine their talent with a concept album you would have to reach further to Stevie Wonder’s “Songs In the Key of Life” which hit on racism, relationships and an un-romanticized look at the past. Those songs are still heard on the radio today and no matter where you are or what you’re doing you stop to listen. That’s what Jeremy Weinglass’ “Odyssey: A Twelve Month Revolution” will do for you.
Weinglass on piano with Chris Woods on violin has created a concept album on the seasons that is un-paralleled in today’s era of throw-away modern music. It also delivers what the album title says. This is in truth an odyssey, a journey in which you will feel completely swept away in.
It is difficult to distinguish which will be your favorite song. From the first thralls of “January” you will feel as if you’ve found the holy grail of classical/jazz musicianship, but it gets better from there. Each month musically, punches you emotionally and dries your tears – at times simultaneously. In “May” there is lightness in the melody that gives optimism and hope for the remainder of the year. However the languishing melody of June enters and manipulates you once again. What happened to all the promise that “April” and “May” offered? Don’t worry, although “June” has melancholy tendencies, it is a track that you can’t help but fall in love with.
“July” one of the longest tracks on the album lulls you. Then you’re enveloped in the splendor of “August.” You wouldn’t think there could be so much emotion derived from a piano and a violin. It’s Weinglass’ melodic arrangement that draws you in. Like Alice down the rabbit hole you don’t quite know what world you’re inhabiting, but you’re intrigued.
The latter months in particular show Weinglass’s creativity and his ability to collaborate with another artist. “September” has some residual rhythmic arrangements from “March” and “August,” but it’s not repetitive. There are several crescendos that break up the pattern and will once again bring you on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. “October” is a controlled yet whirling chaos. It’s the coming of winter where everything dies and in “October” there is this frenzy to live as full as you can before the dormancy of “November” and “December” come around.
“November” and “December” are songs of remembrance and renewal. Both tracks reveal that in order to live again one must take time to look back and prepare for the new year.
Weinglass has described “Odyssey” as a “journey through time.” It is that and more. If you’ve avoided classical-jazz like the plague, then you’re missing out on one of the best album’s of the year, perhaps the decade.