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Brent Magstadt Featured Artist: Brent Magstadt

Year: 2005

Record Label: Slippina Disc

Style: Fusion

Musicians: Brent L. Magstadt (acoustic and electric guitars, electric bass, vocals, percussion & bamboo), Jack Barbash (electric piano), Richard Persons (horns), Van Crozier (saxophones), Scott C. Fishbach (didgeridoos), Fletcher Andrews (drum kit, tablas, congas, timbale, miscellaneous percussion), Luke McQuillin (electric guitars), Doug Findley (tenor saxophone), Annie Roberts (cello)


I have a problem. There is so much good music on this CD I am perplexed where to start. I loved every track.

Brent Magstadt is a multi-tasking musician in the studio and his self-titled album documents his brilliance. He plays everything from soup to nuts. Well...actually...the acoustic and electric guitars, bass, percussion & bamboo, along with some spirited vocals that reminded me of Tommy Shaw during the vintage Grand Illusion period of Styx. After I listened to album for the first time, I asked Brent if he was a Styx fan and he responded with a resounding 'yes'!

This is not an easy task to explain everything that is happening on this album, let me just say that there is a multitude of genres bubbling in this musical stew. To make it a little more clear I would have to place it all squarely in the jazz-rock-fusion arena, although if you listen enough you will hear other influences creeping in like blues and world to name a few. How many CDs have you heard lately that have a didgeridoo on it? (I love the name of that instrument! It sounds like something that you would find in Dr. Seuss story) Check out “Simple Thoughts.”

When the album kicks off with the intro “L’Inizio,” you may think you are in for some kind primal world tribal hip-hop experience-do not let that throw you off, it is just a little ditty to get you in some rhythm, and then it segues right into “Percolator,” which has some rockin’ guitar licks to get your juices flowing. Then, as quickly as that song kicks in it changes with some jazzy sax sounds with a funky rhythm section. This is followed by some choppy riffs from Magstadt’s six-string. When it reaches its completion, Magstadt does his best to wow you with some amazing fretwork. The dude is on fire. He really impresses as a versatile and together musician. There is so much happening in one song! This is the premise of the entire recording, so expect to be “locked in” while listening from start to finish. And just to show you that there is more to him than playing instruments, he lets loose with a great vocal arrangement called “All Of Your Toys.” It points to corporate America and the excessiveness and greedy people that are running the show. The track features some nice acoustic guitar work that gently invites a more significant electric guitar sound that gives it a slick modern day rock sound. “Samba de los Rockos” is a Latin flavored composition full of vibrant and colorful expressions, making it one of the more interesting tracks on the CD. One moment you feel like doing the Samba and then a trumpet comes in and paints the picture of a bullfighter taking his last stand against his foe. Then, all the timbales and congas get in a groove and have you dancing in your seat. It is all great stuff.

With this much to say about a few tracks, it certainly must have peaked your interest by now? Well, I hope so, because that is the tip of the iceberg. If you like nothing but variety for your listening experience that is what you will get on this CD in every track. Brent Magstadt may be the most significant and innovative artist that you have never heard.


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