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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews


  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 May
Sounds like … instrumental guitar jams mostly rooted in rock and blues, reminiscent of Jeff Beck, Joe Satriani, B.B. King, and Steve VaiAt a glance … though still primarily geared for guitar aficionados and Keaggy's most devout fans, this enjoyable collection of instrumental jams is the veteran's most worthwhile album in yearsTrack Listing Route Canal Phlagan's Flow Kegworth Speaks Blueberry Jam Zee Blues Sherlock Ohms Elect Rick Joyphil Revisited Jelly Watt Ever Prehistrobie K-18 Kegworth Reconsiders

In addition to his vocal projects, guitar virtuoso Phil Keaggy is known for a long list of instrumental recordings that have helped bring his discography to nearly 50 albums over 30 years. These projects run the gamut from the contemplative and meditative (The Wind and the Wheat, Beyond Nature) to the artsy and the aimless (Cinemascapes, Freehand). Occasionally we've been treated to more rocking efforts like 220 and Premium Jams, placing the masterful musician in playful sessions with bass and drums.

If (like me) you tend to gravitate to the latter, then Jammed! is certainly your album. An enjoyably varied collection of past sessions, primarily from the last ten years, it starts with a straightforward jam like "Route Canal" before flowing into the harder edge of "Phlagan's Flow" and the smooth blues of "Watt Ever" and "Zee Blues." Maybe "Joyphil" doesn't live up to the grandiose bombast of Trans-Siberian Orchestra or Brian May (Queen), but it's nonetheless a pleasantly rousing take on Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

The collection doesn't overstay its welcome, but some tracks are certainly more worthwhile than others. "Blueberry Jam" is an extended closing trimmed from 1993's "Baby Blue" (off Crimson & Blue), but it would be far more meaningful in context considering its brevity. And though "Prehistrobie K-18" is a nostalgic look back to Keaggy's earliest days with Glass Harp, it seems an odd inclusion amid the other modern tracks. But "Kegworth Speaks" presents a show-stopping performance from a power trio that includes drummer Keith Carlock (currently touring with Sting), and "Sherlock Ohms" allows for some tightly groovin' interaction between the talented guitarist and rhythm combo.

As an instrumental project intended purely for the fun of playing, Jammed! may be short on spiritual content, but it's a clear display of talent from one of CCM's most gifted musicians. And while the album may not be necessary for anyone other than guitar freaks and the artist's most devout fans, it's easily Keaggy's most worthwhile album in some time.

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