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Scott Cossu's return to the new age/smooth jazz fold is a miracle in itself. Hit by a car while crossing a street in Los Angeles in 1989, the keyboardist's resulting amnesia meant he had to learn music all over again and rediscover his gifts. When Spirits Fly is then not only a tribute to the preciousness of life, but also confirmation that after a long period of recovery, he's just as melodic as ever. The sympathy factor can only go so far, however, so it's nice to report that Cossu's comeback stands on its own without the dramatic story behind it. Aside from softly meditative, Jim Brickman-like ballads like "A Lullaby for Anthony" and "Silver Water Wheel," Cossu proves that even spiritually minded composers can swing with the funkiest of jazz players; many of the jumping, percussive lines of "Hakone" and "Vina Del Mar" are done in perfect tandem with the Wes Montgomery-flavored guitar of Van Manakas, who is often an equal partner throughout the recording. Manakas' acoustic guitar offers a sensitive counterpoint to the mournful low-register piano melody and dark cello harmonies of Jaime Siebert. Cossu enjoys a variety of mood swings. He bounces off the reliable soprano sax of Justo Almario on the laid-back "Coming Home" and goes for a touch of the exotic with violinist Willie Royal (from Willie & Lobo) on the title track, which would be right at home on a Willie & Lobo album. While Cossu draws upon his instrument's extraordinary percussive potential, ultimately it's the graceful beauty of simple melodies like "Soaring" that stay with the listener longest.
Performance CreditsScott Cossu Primary Artist,Piano,Keyboards
Justo Almario Soprano Saxophone
Tom Canning Keyboards,keyboard bass
Geoffrey Gordon Percussion,Drums
Van Manakas Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Willie Royal Violin
Technical CreditsScott Cossu Producer
Tom Canning Programming,Producer
Dave Dysart Engineer
Willy LeMaster Engineer
Mark Yeend Engineer