various artists,
Homeland: A Tribute to the Spirit of America
(Warner Brothers, 2002)

The ruthless attacks on America on Sept. 11, 2001, left us all feeling as we'd rarely felt before. We were angry, hurt, shocked, saddened, lost. Emotions we'd certainly experienced before, but never to the degree with which we felt them now. Many of us were able to alleviate those emotions by displaying flags on our houses and cars, or by contributing money to the various organizations sent to New York and Washington, D.C., to lend aid. Still more of us held prayer vigils for the missing and dead. Everyone wanted to do something -- anything -- that would make us feel a part of the healing process.

The folks at Jazziz Magazine, the monthly publication that is the voice of jazz, offer compilation CDs with each magazine as a means of getting music out to the public. Their current offering is a tribute to the victims of 9-11; while the initial CD comes free with a subscription, the proceeds from additional sales go directly to the American Red Cross.

Homeland: A Tribute to the Spirit of America is tastefully assembled and features the talents of Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden, Mike Mainieri, Marc Johnson, Dave Douglas, Jay Graydon, Michael Hedges, Leni Stern, Richard Leo Johnson and more. It is at times upbeat and jazzy, at others soothing and mellow. It has a generous 16 tracks, mostly instrumental, with a good mix of musical styles.

One of the most surprising tracks is an electric guitar version of "The Star Spangled Banner" by Jay Graydon. You can easily hear the musician's heart in the piece, which is clear and strong and simple and direct. It speaks of a love of country we all understand. "High on a Mountain" by the Wayfaring Strangers is a beautifully performed song that laments lost love and the loneliness of solitude. Again, it is something we all understand so much better now.

Like your favorite jeans or a comfy blanket, this is music to comfort and soothe.

[ by Sheree Morrow ]
Rambles: 25 May 2002