Like its namesakes, Fresh Aire III is a series of song-specific themes (the life cycle, the forest) couched within a larger seasonal theme (this time, summer). Listeners will find the same mix of medieval music, progressive keyboard rock, and soft instrumentals that made up the first two Fresh Aire albums in varying amounts. The new wrinkle is ...
Like its namesakes, Fresh Aire III is a series of song-specific themes (the life cycle, the forest) couched within a larger seasonal theme (this time, summer). Listeners will find the same mix of medieval music, progressive keyboard rock, and soft instrumentals that made up the first two Fresh Aire albums in varying amounts. The new wrinkle is music that better leverages the part-time string sections as composer Chip Davis casts his arrangements in a contemporary classical setting. On a piece like "Mere Image," originally written for the Omaha Ballet and chronicling the passage of life from young to old, the music blossoms in the hands of an orchestra. However, sentimentality gets the better of Davis on "Morning," resulting in sub-Sergei Rachmaninoff mawkishness. Balancing out the orchestral pieces are the medieval/prog rock keyboard showcases for Jackson Berkey ("Toccata," "The Cricket," "Midnight on a Full Moon"), again bearing a strong resemblance to the work of Rick Wakeman, and the thoughtful instrumentals painted in watercolor tones ("Amber," "Interlude 6," "The Sky"). At this stage, the notes explaining the program behind the music are less illuminating than didactic; after all, this isn't rocket science. It is, however, a well-balanced alliance of Davis' own musical development and the spirit of nature and history that runs through all of the Fresh Aire releases. Incorporating the sounds of nature into "The Woods Is Alive," writing music set to motion for "Mere Image," these represent incremental steps for Chip Davis as a composer. Mannheim Steamroller wasn't about to abandon their Fresh Aire aesthetics, yet they manage to move forward within those musical parameters with each album. ~ Dave Connolly, Rovi
New in new packaging. Originally released: 1979. SHIPS IMMEDIATELY FIRST CLASS MAIL IN PADDED BUBBLE MAILER WITH TRACKING If you don't already know Mannheim Steamroller its rather hard to describe the music--new age, classical, upbeat, relaxing, light-hearted, rock beat--well all that's true but it will never really describe the treat your ears are in for! So, you're interested in Mannheim Steamroller, but wondering where to start? Alternatively, maybe your introduction to Chip Davis and the Steamroller has been through the terrific set of Christmas music but now you're wondering what you might want to get that would explore beyond that. Either way, the Fresh Aire series is the place to go next because that's where it all began and because that's still the music that's most characteristic of the group. Within that series, the first four are the seasons cycle and all are worth getting but III is that top of my personal list of favorites. Its typical of both the Fresh Aire series and Mannheim Steamroller with the eclectic mix of instruments and both exciting and relaxing styles. Chip successfully mixes classical and rock styles, electonics and acoustic instruments (not to mention the toy piano and the cricket! ). If you've liked anything else by Mannheim Steamroller then you owe it to your ears to get this CD. If this is a new adventure, then this is a good place to start.