Guitarist, composer and bandleader Karen Segal takes a prodigious leap in jazz fusion with her debut record The Mystery Of Life. Some featured musicians on the recording include bass players Perry Thoorsell and Marcus Shelby, drummers Alan Hall and Ricky Carter, and percussionist Brian Rice. The Mystery Of Life is a musical manifesto that documents Segal’s influences from the bluesy styled arcs of John Scofield to the eclectic rock imagery of Pat Metheny along with volumes of smooth bronzing which she puts on acid-tinted jazz and multi-colored patterns. She pays homage to her mentors while sustaining an individuality in her music that may be described as ethereal-meshed jazz. Written, arranged and produced by Segal, The Mystery Of Life has a soft brushing interrupted periodically by sizzling guitar sparks and winded tossing that makes for an album which stimulates the cells of the mind and stirs feeling in the tips of the limbs.
The Latin flavoring of “What Goes Around” has a weightless feel in its spins and extensions, which shift into a series of sexy, cha-cha shimmies on the rhythmic patterns of “Come With Me.” The guitar inflections are buoyed by the elegant grazing of her finger movements as the bongo-styled beats protrude with an island sway. The gentle, breezy strokes in tracks like “Moonrise,” After The Storm, and “Lost” have an ethereal lift, which transform into molten acid tones in “Epiphany.” The bluesy bass ripples of “Blues For Wes And Kenny” support Segal’s plush, shimmering chords tones, and the wavy ruffles donning the title track display a nomadic wandering. The exotic sound effects and island flare of “Lilah Rose” have a world music coloring, and the soft, contemplative musings coasting along “I Believe” radiate with a romantic touch that is deeply in tuned to human emotions.
Segal plays from her heart while listening to her mind. Her music is conducive to supper club ambiences and induces feel-good vibrations in the listener’s ears. The songs are amenable and hospitable making listeners feel welcomed by surrounding them in easy listening tunage and reclining motions.