Album Review: Jason Zac Band
Allegro Fudge frontman explores a spectrum of emotions on his instrumental solo album
Bengaluru’s Jason Zachariah plays piano for acoustic rock band Allegro Fudge, and makes a commendable feat in releasing his instrumental album Back In Time in September, when the band’s album Maximum City was released digitally just in June this year.
There’s a lot of dynamism on Back In Time, in terms of mood and song length – from the folk-carnival/country blues tune “Misfit Gathering” clocking in at 5.52 minutes to the triumphant “New Found Spark” at 4.40 minutes and the reflective album closer “Promises” being the longest song at 7.52 minutes – Zachariah’s main instrument, just like in Allegro Fudge, is the piano. But he dabbles in blues and folk minimalistic styles, crafting a soundtrack to a spectrum of emotions like in “Dark Passenger,” which starts off on a solemn note but becomes exultant as the vocal melodies kick in towards the end.
Zachariah lists his influences to include Mark Knopfler, Queen, Elton John and even Metallica. Though it’s safe to say there aren’t any thrash metal riffs on Back In Time, you can hear a typical piano ballad in “The Funeral and The Twist,” acoustic guitars and melodica included, which unpredictably swells into a foot-tapper of a blues song.
The songwriting is all Zachariah’s handiwork, but adding sessions musicians from the likes of metallers Bhoomi (Sujay Harthi provides vocal melodies) and folk fusion band Lagori (Geeth Vaz adds guitars, and Vinyl Kumar plays cajon) helps to create a country-blues/folk album that displays remarkable maturity. The only downside is the album’s strong attachment to these labels. This makes it a must-listen for blues, folk and country fans, but might just end up sounding like elevator music for some fans of Zachariah’s work with Allegro Fudge, who are not as meditative in their approach to music as their pianist.