A Wide Range of Exquisite Moods in Morning Sun

Gadi Caplan – Morning Sun (Musea Parallele, 2016)

Morning Sun is the outstanding third album by Israeli multi-instrumentalist Gadi Caplan. On Morning Sun, the Brooklyn-based Caplan combines exquisite progressive rock and fusion inspired by the classic bands of the 1970s with Indian scales, Sephardic music and more.

One of Caplan’s instruments is the guitar. With it, he extracts exquisite electric sounds inspired by Indian classical music, blues, jazz-rock fusion, and progressive symphonic rock. When he switches to the acoustic guitar, Caplan’s music sounds similar to Anthony Phillips’ (former Genesis guitarist) solo works, which combined progressive rock with delicate pastoral folk music. Caplan adds mesmerizing Indian flute, Ladino vocals, and cello, creating new musical combinations in the true spirit of progressive rock.

Caplan delivers a wide range of moods in Morning Sun. Two pieces, “Hemavati” and “Vidadi Swara” have Indian influence. The laid back “Island” has David Gilmour-inspired vocals and Canterbury-type keyboards.

“Good Afternoon” features jazz-soul elements. Meanwhile, the title track “Morning Sun” leans towards acoustic progressive folk-rock-world music whereas “La Morena” begins with echoes of Anthony Phillips and Sephardic vocals, and grows gradually into an epic piece.

On “The Other Side,” Caplan begins with looped guitars and grows into a bluesy progressive piece with early 1970s Pink Floyd influences.

The album ends with a four-part suite, Lili’s Day Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4. On Part 1, Caplan injects funk jazz beats and electronic loops along with a synth solo. Part 2 is more jazz-oriented, with distorted saxophone. Part 3 slows down, featuring orchestral drums and an electric guitar solo. Lastly, Part 4 is a gorgeous conclusion to the album with majestic strings.

The lineup on Morning Sun includes Gadi Caplan on guitar, bass, synths, and arrangements; Danny Abowd on lead and background vocals, and trombone; Bruno Esrubilsky on drums and congas; Duncan Wickel on violin, viola, and cello; Jesse Gottlieb on background vocals and trumpet; Jonathan Greenstein on tenor sax; Christian Li on keyboards; and Jay Gandhi on bansuri flute.

Caplan’s previous two albums are Opposite Views (2011) and Look Back Step Forward (2013).

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