Jersey Shore area artist Gil Velazquez has done it once again. He has released more music and done so in the shortest of manners; a three-song EP titled Sol Celebration.
Velazquez draws from a range of influences, which are evident in this far too short collection of well written reflections he has assembled. “I’ve slowly been working on this project and it’s a very interesting set of songs,” he said in a recent interview. “I’ve got so much in my head and in my heart musically that I just can’t paint myself into a corner with what I record.”
The collection is a triumph over sadness and loss and served as an outlet for Velazquez. Track No. 1 is a heavily latter day Carlos Santana-influenced piece with Rob Thomas-type vocal inflections called “Out of My Mind.” It begins with some nicely done guitar work and swells, setting the Latin tone for the rhythms to come.
Gil performs all of the instruments and did some drum tracking on this cut, which breaks into an upbeat Latin percussion-laden toe-tapper after the intro. The thing that stands out a bit is the vocal track — something Velazquez doesn’t always employ, let alone with the strength that he does here. “Gotta get you out of my mind, it’s gonna take a lot this time”: no explanation needed here as to this one’s inspiration. The only thing more prominent may be the soaring guitar solo in the middle and at the end.
Track No. 2 is the title cut which, once again, has a very Latin flavor and is a return to Velazquez’s trademark, an instrumental work that can best be described as big. Every step of the way, this tune swells, ebbs and flows (mostly flows) and is reminiscent of something from a movie soundtrack. Well placed percussion and a backdrop of keys at opportune times with searing yet sometimes weeping guitar and a great drum track take you on the emotional journey that he intended to convey when it was recorded.
This was 10 years in the making and is very personal for Gil. The EP was a way “of dealing with loss in a spiritual way years ago when my dad passed,” he explains in the disc’s booklet. “Years later while finishing up on this production, my mom was transitioning from living independently to a nursing home. She was a lover of life, food, music and people. Her passing while I was finishing this production really struck once again the analogy of our ‘sol,’ our inner light that I believe does transcend into another light, another energy. I feel it has to be a celebration in some ways as our souls move on.”
“Somebody,” the final offering, starts off with a keyboard intro that transitions into vintage Velazquez: heavy rhythms and eerie sustains of single notes. “Sometimes somebody just says goodbye,” is the simple message punched home with authority in this once again reality-based tune.
Overall, Sol Celebration is a quick trip through the at times eclectic mind of Velazquez. We feel his ups, downs and intentions not only lyrically but through the music as well, a rarity in much of today’s pop-driven commercial market.
For more about Velazquez, visit gilvelazquez.com.