Artist: Travis Vega
Title Of Album: Just Let It Flow
Year Of Release: February 5, 2007
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Bitrate: 192kbps / 44,1kHz / Joint-Stereo
Total Time: 48:26 min
Total Size: 65.2 MB
01. Myspace.Com/Travisvegamusic (Intro)
02. That Feeling
03. Just Let It Flow
04. When Ever Where Ever
05. Don't Be Late
06. Now & Then
08. Leaving The Past
09. Valley View
10. Straight Chilln'
11. Coastal View
12. The Eastside Story
When you love to play guitar, you play. Nothing can stop you. When musical ideas are burning in your brain, you play them. Through The Valley (2004) was Travis' expression and his debut album, starting his career as solo musician. George Benson, Wes Montgomery, Norman Brown and Peter White are Travis' idols. In fact these legends have impressed a whole generation of guitarists. Following the mainstream in smooth jazz Travis soon succeeded in placing his music on smooth jazz radio stations throughout the United States. Travis comments: "I really don't know if you can call what I do Jazz parse, I don't consider myself a straight ahead jazz musician, but a musician that has influences of jazz, pop, R&B, hip-hop, rock, I love to combine all those styles that have influenced me and create what feels good to me."
Even other guitarists like Les Sabler profit by Travis' great musical talent. His sophomore album Just Let It Flow (2007) is ready to climb the charts. On his new album one finds no guest musician, no great names, no cover, just pure original music. Travis got some help by his brother Jason Vega, who played percussion on all songs and his sister Kia Vega, background vocals on Just Let It Flow. Travis says: "This is the project that saved me. Just Let It Flow was a project that helped me through the toughest time in my life, it was the opposite of what I was going through, and it represented the positive side of me during a time of negativity. I composed, played, recorded, mixed and mastered Just Let It Flow in four months, I had my brother who tours with me play percussion on most of the tracks. Just Let It Flow became very personnel for me, challenging me to extend myself and think beyond the guitar."
My expectations are high, Travis is a great talent not only as guitarist but also as composer. The short intro indicates his website myspace.com/travisvegamusic, where you have the opportunity to listen to samples of the new album and read about Travis' roots. The 25 years old Travis is fresh on the start to a big career.
Travis' guitar performance has this special ease of an experienced musician. That Feeling has a captivating loop which is transferred in various keys. Many critics compare his performance with a flow of a river. That is easy to explain not only by the title of this album, but also by the steady loudness of his play and the constant tempo. This is significant on his song Just Let It Flow, on which Travis concentrates on the melody and not on various tempi. It is an extremely crucial element of sound, as it can affect the mood and difficulty of a piece. Travis uses instead a trick, he injects the loops with some guitar solos. This kind of performance infects the melody making it hypnotically accessible.
The second part of his magic is the rhythm. When Ever Where Ever is a good example to explain this principle. The melody performed by the electric guitar is repetitious like a loop. All other instruments like keyboards, acoustic guitar, drum loops and bongo patterns are building this tapestry of rhythm, always unobtrusive in the background.
Don't Be Late follows the same method, but this time Travis expands his guitar solos. He has the ability to shine and when he leaves the melody path he is brilliant. On Now & Then Travis is using other instruments for example the flute to interpret the melody. The dynamic touch of the tune is produced by very fast and lively programmed keyboard patterns which I recently observed on the Jeff Lorber produced part of Eric Marienthal's Just Around The Corner.
Very important for the dynamic of an album is constant re-invention of music. Try something different, see the music from another standpoint. I cannot suggest to change the guitar, when someone likes his guitar like Travis. So Travis adds on Dorian another rhythm element, the water drop sound. Also very popular is the applied shuffle beat.
Leaving The Past is a slow ballade showcasing Travis diversity. During the recitation on electric guitar he builds the bridge with his acoustic guitar. This is a highlight in Spanish Flamenco and I regret the shortness of this bridge. The onomatopoeic intro of Valley View would be worth to be longer. Travis has a strong affinity to guitar chords in the way of George Benson, Norman Brown or Nick Colionne. It's really hard to be a chart breaker with such a competition. The only recipe for success beside mastership is creativity and innovation. Surprise the audience!
On Straight Chillin' Travis is using the well-known smooth jazz formula of relaxation and chilling out. The slow ballade Coastal View offers more of Travis' guitar skills. "Those tracks represent the influence that R&B, Hip-Hop and Chill has on me, bringing in that type of production to those songs," comments Travis. The Eastside Story marks the end of the album. The up-tempo style is obviously Travis' strength.
Travis Vega has a good nose for grooves and melodies. Walking on the paths of masters like George Benson he has the condition for a bright future, good compositions and skills. He will certainly make the next step to stardom.