New Beginnings” by Keith Fiala

Album Review by New Age CD and New Age Notes Radio Staff

Let’s jazz things up a bit. . .

Austin Winds endorsed trumpet and flugelhorn artist, Keith Fiala, is one of the most exciting, innovative, versatile horn players and educators/clinicians on the music scene today.

Keith has shared the stage with jazz greats such as ten-time Grammy® winner Arturo Sandoval, Gordon Goodwin, Wayne Bergeron, Randy Brecker, The Temptations, Brian Lynch, Allen Vizzutti, Bill Watrous, Dan Higgins, Charles Davis, Walt Johnson, Tom “Bones” Malone, and a host of many others.

A First Call trumpeter in Austin and throughout Texas, Keith co-founded, and was a performer with, the celebrated R&B group, Memphis Train Revue. Fiala toured the world performing with his mentor, the legendary trumpeter and bandleader, Maynard Ferguson.

This scintillating 10-track album is Keith’s first full album of all original works and is a culmination of four years of work. Here, Fiala dives into different musical styles that include Bolero, funk-infused jazz, as well as ethereal “New Age” jazz, that presents the listener with an exhilarating musical journey.

Keith is joined on the album, “New Beginnings” by a host of first-rate musical talent: Johnny Friday on drums, Tyler Honsel and Lannie Hilboldt on bass, Jamie Hilboldt and Arturo Sandoval, Keith Fiala, and Dr. Ben Irom on keys/synths, Marc Lionetti, Ken Berry on guitars, and Keith Fiala on all horns.

The album opens with the fun and bright, “Let’s Go,” and we are off to an exciting start. It’s the perfect opener for this impressive jazz album. “She’s So Sweet,” which was released as a single from the album, follows. This is quite the 4-1/2-minute sweet ride, with so many interesting layers, textures, and elements that keep the listener completely engaged from start to finish. Along with the superbly played horns, the sitar solo by Ken Berry, who has a quite a remarkable list of credits to his name, is excellent.

“Cityscape” is a funky “groovy” tune that perfectly captures the heartbeat and ambiance of any metropolis. With its Latin Bossa Nova feel, “Flow” is memorable, melodic, and just flows like smooth honey. Here is where the true artistry and talent of this artist really sinks in.

Have you ever been to the location of Hollywood and Vine in California? It’s certainly an interesting and vibrant crossroads, as is this piece. Things slow down a bit with the lovely, “Lorena.” Flugelhorn and guitar make this an exceptionally nice dance. This has a very romantic vibe and one can almost hear the “call” to Lorena. That’s how good this is. We are hearing the universal language of music.

Following, is another track inspired by the mysterious, and apparently elusive, Lorena, “How Long Can I Wait (For You).” The music has a certain cinematic intrigue to it and there is a subtle lyric/vocal as well. This is very nicely done in composition and production, as is the whole album.

“MB’s Groove” is melodious and flowing and is smooth jazz at its finest. Arturo Sandoval gives a stellar guest performance on a Moog synth. Along with bass (Lannie Hilboldt), drums (Johnny Friday), keys (Jamie Hilbolt), and Keith’s very mellow flugelhorn, this is wonderful.

Deep bass draws us slowly into the somewhat dark, “Beyond Infinity.” The song is expansive and contemplative. This great album closes out with the very fun, funky, five-minute, “Wit’s End.” An absolutely great guitar solo by Ken Berry complements Keith’s expert horn playing wonderfully. And we find we really don’t want to be at any end with this exceptionally good album.

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