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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sebastian Sidi: Desperate Journey // Live at the O.C. Pavilion -- Music Review

         One of the nicest and hardest working musicians in the business today is a young man by the name of Sebastian Sidi.  Over the past year and a half you may have seen his exciting PBS television special or perhaps even seen him in one of his many live performances.  If you haven't heard of Sebastian and his music yet, it would be an absolute honor for me to introduce him to you. Tomorrow I'll be interviewing  Sebastian  and letting you get to know him. Today however I am going to review two of my favorite recordings by Sebastian Sidi.   

           Released in 2005, Desperate Journey was a real breakthru for Sebastian Sidi exhibiting a heightened musical maturity and expert musical interplay between him and a sharp band of virtuoso musicians.  The album is a satisfying mix of rock, classical, and Latin influenced music which is at times highly energetic and on other tracks cooly jazzy and laid back. It is the type of album that can be appreciated by just about any listening audience.

           The opening tune is "The Limit", powered by high energy drums, nice keyboard riffing by Sebastian, and some very slick guitar work by Javier Lima, who is Sebastian's cousin.  The mood is mellowed by a lovely redition of the classical crossover hit originally made famous by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman, "Time to Say Good-bye". Sebastian and company is joined by vocalists Georgia Waggoner and Tonya Hoodye in a version that absolutely soars.  The mellow mood continues with the vocalists once again joining on the wordless ethereal "Mirucha".  Next, the title tune, "Desperate Journey", picks up the pace again with a tune that fits the title. Tight interaction among the musicians  and fantastic songwriting skills makes this song one of my favorites on the album.

          The musical atmosphere switches to the salsa tinged "Moon Shadow".  This is a joyfully upbeat tune where Sebastian's keyboard skills absolutely shine and sparkle like stars on a warm Latin night -- this one could have you on your feet dancing.  The Latin beat carries on in "Spice It Up", which is just as the title implies. Great piano and synthesizer work, hot perscussion, and more sizzling guitar from Javier really spice up this track. 

        Then with the excellent sense of pacing that Sebastian has, the next tune, "Moving On", brings us back to a more introspective mood.  It's a beautiful melody the invokes a spirit of dreams and good memories.  I could listen to this song over and over.  The band continues with the popular crowd-pleaser "Theme from Chariots of Fire". Sebastian's imaginative arrangement of this old favorite breathes new life into the Vangelis tune. This is followed by another personal favorite, "Moment in Time", where the girls return with their airy wordless vocals. This is another wistful song with such a dreamy cool jazz quality that it almost like remembering the first time you fell in love--I wanted this song to go on for several more minutes.

        But not one to dally for long, Sebastian kicks it back up with "Rock the Blues". This is just what the title says it is-- a good time boogie infected jam where everybody has a good time. This is followed by another Latin influenced number called "Pachanga" that makes you want to just close your eyes and groove to the music. "Rising Thunder" is a majestic tour de force where Sebastian shows off his vast musical talent by playing all instruments on the track. You will declare, "Is there no end to this man's talent?"

          The final tune is "Corazon De Nino" by the famous Argentine keyboardist Raul di Blasio.  What more can I say about this one, except beautifully performed with all keyboards and synthesizers by Sebastian Sidi. It is an apt closing to a great album.  But wait, there is one more track!  I won't tell you what it is here except that I've never heard anything like it on an album before and it is rather interesting.

      LIVE AT THE O.C. PAVILION PERFORMING ARTS THEATRE

         The other recording that I would highly recommend is the DVD LIVE AT THE O.C. PAVILION .  This is the DVD recording that is the same as the PBS special that has been playing throughout the country.  The DVD is great because you get to hear Sebastian with band playing live before an audience and see them in action.  The DVD was produced by Emmy award winner George Veras who also produced specials for Yanni and others.  Everything from the sound to the visuals is top-notch.  Many favorite songs selected from Sebastian's many albums are performed including the modern takes on Beethoven's "Ode to Fur Elise" and "The Fifth Symphony".  Sebastian is accompanied by a band that is as good as any you have seen, which includes his cousin Javier Lima on guitar, Xris Martin on bass, James Friedman on drums, and sassy violinist Cara C, as well as his vocalists and other guest musicians.  For an experience you won't forget and can enjoy over and over, the DVD is the next best thing to being at one of Sebastian Sidi's live concerts.

      You can obtain these and all of Sebastian's other recordings and hear samples of his music at his website. Also a preview of his next album The Ride  to be released in 2010 is on youtube. If making a comment to Sebastian on one of his sites, please let him know that you heard about his music from this blog.

      If you are already a fan of  Sebastian Sidi or know about his music please leave a comment  to let us know what you think.  Have you seen him perform live?  Tell us about it.  What is your favorite album or song?  Let everyone else know what you think about Sebastian Sidi.   If you're new to hearing about Sebastian, but would like to comment on this article we want to hear from you as well. 
      Be sure to check back tomorrow for the interview with Sebastian Sidi. And if you haven't done so already, please sign up to follow this blog.  There will some interesting interviews in the weeks to come that I think you might enjoy.

13 comments:

  1. This is the second introduction I have had to Sebastian. Hearing sich wonderful things about his music is making me eager to hear from myself.

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  2. I just may need to check out some of his music. Being a local wedding/party DJ it's nice to be good to hear something new besides the typical stuff that's played on the radio.

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  3. I had not heard of Sebastian Sidi until I read your blog. The word description of his music was awesome. I almost could hear the sound.

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  4. Hi, Less! Thanks for your visit.
    You made a translation in a site and I didn't understand very well the portuguese. My english is not good, too.

    I haven't heard about Sebastian Sidi before. I saw some videos at youtube and liked very much.

    I'll be here tomorrow for the interviw.

    But...how do you know that I like Yanni and salsa music?

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  5. Tamika,
    Did you hear about Sebastian previously on my site or elsewhere?
    If not here, where did you hear of him. His PBS special played on a Dallas station back in August I believe. Definitely check him out.
    Lee

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  6. Glen,
    Good to hear from you again. His fans are crazy about his music. Some of the salsa tunes especially might work well in your DJ repertoire.
    Lee

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  7. Hi Judy,
    Hope your feeling better this afternoon.
    Sebastian's music can be heard several places on the web. There are several videos on YouTube and you can hear song samples on his website and his myspace site.
    Lee

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  8. Hello Rosamaria,

    Thank you for responding. I used the yahoo translator that you had on your site.

    I was following the links from my profile to see if there were any other Yanni fans and found you there. Sebastian is from Uruguay and speaks Spanish. You can contact him through his website.

    Hope to hear from you again.
    Lee

    Here is translation from Google:

    Olá Rosamaria,

    Obrigado por responder. Eu usei o tradutor do Yahoo que você tinha no seu site.

    Eu estava seguindo os links do meu perfil para ver se havia algum outros fãs Yanni e encontrou lá. Sebastian é do Uruguai e fala espanhol. Você pode contatá-lo através de seu website.

    Espero ouvi-lo novamente.
    Lee

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  9. I have heard Sebastian both in concert at the Pavilion and in other venues. He is an amazing piano player, his energy is untouchable, listening to his work gets me through my day. Toe tapping, yes. I loved your review, beautiful write up on a man of many talents. I see Sebastian going further then one can imagine. he has touched many fans with his music, I love hearing him play. I thought that I would never listen to that kind of music, but I am hooked. Thank you Sebastian for bringing your wonderful talent into my life.

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  10. Wow! Thanks for your answer! Now the translation worked very well. I'm going at Sebastian site.
    I live very near of Uruguai and I understand spanish.

    I'llbe back

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  11. Caro Rosamaria,

    Estou contente que o tradutor do Google funciona melhor. Não se esqueça de ler a entrevista de hoje com o Sebastian.

    Por favor, se você enviar correspondência a Sebastian que ele saiba que você ouviu falar dele a partir do blog. Sebastian respostas de todos os seus e-mails da minha experiência com ele. Você pode querer escrever sobre ele em seu blog também.

    Foi um favor que corresponde com você e eu espero que você verifique novamente com o meu site.

    Atenciosamente
    Lee

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  12. great article. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did anyone learn that some chinese hacker had hacked twitter yesterday again.

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  13. I love you forever, l always had a great time. It is a great pleasure to be able to meet you. God gave me a wonderful gift. ROCK ON!!!! Miss you.

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Lee