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Neal Schon: The Calling

Album Review

Journey guitarist’s clever-clever seventh solo album.

Neal Schon spent a mere four days recording this musical masterclass alongside his former Journey bandmate, drummer Steve Smith. Igor Len later overdubbed piano to give Schon a multi-layered fusion-rock that (mostly) gives multi-layered fusion-rock a good name.

The 12 songs revisit the soundscapes of the two early ’80s Schon & Hammer albums, but The Calling is entirely instrumental. 

Journey it ain’t then, then, but when it’s good it’s more than musos showing off. Schon’s soloing is jaw-droppingly impressive – witness True Emotion, Transonic Funk or Carnival Jazz. Jan Hammer returns to add Moog on the frantic and exotic Fifty Sixplus Tumbleweeds – which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Rush album – and Smith’s drumming on Back Smash is stunning. 

And if you want to, y’know, dance, the title track has a nice-and-ratty funk vibe halfway between Aerosmith and Tommy Bolin.

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