Fresh Aire II

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Carol Wright
Composer Chip Davis chooses the theme of fall for the second installment in his Fresh Aire series; puzzlingly, there's a striking lack of autumnal motifs. Instead, the album features the dandy unifying theme of doorways. Davis solidifies the Mannheim Steamroller sound here, with a Renaissance-style ensemble of recorders, dulcimer, woodwinds, harpsichord, and strings thrown into the same vat as Jackson Berkey's piano and quaint synthesizer, electric bass, and Davis's rock drums. The main melodic theme is set within the first half-minute of the first track, "Chorale," and from this point he whimsically throws open a series of new doors, including a pounding, humorous ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Carol Wright
Composer Chip Davis chooses the theme of fall for the second installment in his Fresh Aire series; puzzlingly, there's a striking lack of autumnal motifs. Instead, the album features the dandy unifying theme of doorways. Davis solidifies the Mannheim Steamroller sound here, with a Renaissance-style ensemble of recorders, dulcimer, woodwinds, harpsichord, and strings thrown into the same vat as Jackson Berkey's piano and quaint synthesizer, electric bass, and Davis's rock drums. The main melodic theme is set within the first half-minute of the first track, "Chorale," and from this point he whimsically throws open a series of new doors, including a pounding, humorous takeoff on "Dies Irae (Day of Wrath)" complete with blaring trumpets and Latin choir. Haughty French horns and Davis's drums put the militant march in "The Third Door," which brings the "Army of Pride" to chase away the demons. The piano and recorder then offer a lovely break with a peaceful duet. Yet another fracas is just around the corner: "The Fifth Door: Frenetic Energy" is a knuckle-busting workout for the harpsichord, followed by some jazzy riffs for cellos and drums. A gently flowing piano piece with the grace of Beethoven's "Moonlight" Sonata gives another welcome respite before the final wall-of-sound blast, "Door Seven: Thermal Inversion," which caps the fantasia segment. Five other pieces round out the album: "Interlude V," (continued from Fresh Aire I) featuring a delicate, raindrop-like piano; the somber "Velvet Tear" for piano and strings; "A Shade Tree" and "Toota Lute," featuring Eric Hansen on guitar and lute; and the full ensemble on the upbeat and heartfelt "Going to Another Place." Not really "fall" at all, but still lots of fun!
All Music Guide - Dave Connolly
This is a rehash of the medieval themes and romantic piano pieces found on the first Fresh Aire. Fresh Aire II gets the nod over the debut by separating the two styles rather than alternating them; the side-long "Fantasia" consists of variations on a stirring medieval theme, not as fertile as Rick Wakeman or Camel's The Snow Goose perhaps, but not far off the mark either. The variations are described as doors a convenient allusion given the music's conduciveness to reverie, with the intended effect of each described with Epimethean acuity by presumably Chip Davis. Without all those precious piano interludes in the middle, Mannheim manages to steamroll its way through more than 15 minutes of medieval mind candy. The second side of the LP features the imaginary themes to romantic movies found on the first album's interludes there's even a continuation here, with "Interlude V" picking up where the first four left off. Of the three romantic pieces, "A Shade Tree" is the prettiest, with strings acoustic and classical conjuring a reflective calm. The medieval theme returns this time without the accoutrements of contemporary rock for "Toota Lute," with Jackson Berkey on harpsichord, Eric Hansen on lute, and Davis on recorder. Verily, it doth produceth much pleasure. But Fresh Aire II's finest moment is the closing "Going to Another Place," which wraps the band's different sounds into a succinct, memorable package. Although admirers of the first Fresh Aire will certainly wish to drink deep draughts of Fresh Aire II, listeners with a soft spot for keyboard-led prog rock and historical themes i.e., Rick Wakeman fans are also invited. As with all of the American Gramaphone releases, the original LP version is audiophile-friendly.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/12/2000
  • Label: American Gramaphone
  • UPC: 012805500227
  • Catalog Number: 5002
  • Sales rank: 111,698

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Chorale
  2. 2 The First Door (1:26)
  3. 3 The Second Door (2:02)
  4. 4 The Third Door (2:30)
  5. 5 The Fourth Door (3:50)
  6. 6 The Fifth Door (2:59)
  7. 7 The Sixth Door (1:28)
  8. 8 Door Seven (1:57)
  9. 9 Fantasy (1:24)
  10. 10 Interlude V (3:37)
  11. 11 Velvet Tear (2:44)
  12. 12 A Shade Tree (4:57)
  13. 13 Toota Lute (2:50)
  14. 14 Going to Another Place (3:20)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Mannheim Steamroller Primary Artist, Primary Artist
Jackson Berky Synthesizer, Piano, Harpsichord, Bells, Chant, fender rhodes
Chip Davis Dulcimer, Percussion, Drums, Recorder, Chant
Bob Jenkins Oboe
Hugh Brown Violin
Eric Hansen Bass, Guitar, Lute, Classical Guitar
Walt Meskell Rhythm Guitar
Don Sears Synthesizer
Mortimer Alpert Violin
Dorothy Brown Violin
Miriam Duffelmeyer Cello
Ginni Eldred Violin
Lucinda Gladics Viola
James Hammond Viola
Jean Hassel Cello
David Kappy French Horn
Joe Landes Violin
Beth McCollum Cello
Merton Shatzkin Violin
Alex Sokol Viola
Gene Badgett Trumpet
Milt Bailey Vocals, Chant
Melody Malec Harp
Technical Credits
Jackson Berky Programming
Chip Davis Arranger, Composer, Programming, Producer
John Boyd Engineer, Mastering
Don Sears Programming, Producer, Engineer, Mastering
Ron Ubel Engineer
Jim Wheeler Engineer
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