Song: Mountain Life
Overall Impression: Brimming with incredible creativity and strikingly bold in its execution, "Mountain Life" is a truly epic jazz fusion adventure that combines a colorful melodic quirkiness with an audacious sense of harmonic flair. Fred Israel has conjured up a wildly vivid jazz fusion odyssey that is incredibly fun to get lost in, melodies fly, sweep, and bounce off one another with vivid animation whilst the tracks heavy use of polyrhythms gives the song its marvelously high-level unpredictability, helping to ensure listeners are kept firmly on their toes from start to finish.
Strongest Point(s): Harmonically, rhythmically, and melodically, there is an abundance for listeners to really sink their teeth into, the maturity of the ideas on display is clear evidence that Fred is extremely well versed in the jazz world and has a unique approach to writing that helps establish his own unique musical identity brilliantly. The interplay between the various instruments is a feast for the senses, whether it'd be the sophisticated counterpoint or the numerous fantastic episodes of question and answer that the various instruments engage in to help heighten the intrigue and effectiveness of the melodies they are playing, the track is brimming with a level of creativity that really is breathtaking at times. Fred has clearly spent a great deal of time to make sure that even though the music is continually taking numerous twists and turns and is forever evolving, thematically, there are strongly connected threads that run through the music that provide strong reference points for listeners to latch onto. Take the main melody that is presented in the opening at 0:31 for example, hints of this very melody can be heard throughout before returning to its full state again at 5:38, thus helping this highly flamboyant piece of instrumental writing to still feel coherent and concise in its thematic development.