Vertical Leap Official Music Review: All Music Guide

All Music Guide

By Alex Henderson

February, 2003

Vertical Leap/SANCTUARY

In the ’70s, progressive rockers had a vision for rock that was, in some respects, comparable to the vision that Gunther Schuller and Gil Evans had for jazz. Prog-rockers like Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Yes, Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Genesis envisioned rock as more than just blue-based boogie they approached it as “high art” and believed that rockers could learn a thing or two from Bach, Beethoven, Mozart or Chopin, which is similar to how Schuller and Evans approached jazz. Although prog-rock peaked in the 70s, there are some 21st Century bands with a pro~-rock outlook; one of them is Vertical Leap, whose Sanctuary was recorded in 2001 but often sounds like it could have been recorded 30 years earlier, This CD is a throwback to the Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, Yes and early Genesis; the songs tend to have a lot of twists and turns, which is why listeners may need to listen to the disc several times before they can fully absorb it. Some of Vertical Leap’s material is instrumental, while some of it features producer/guitarist/composer George W. Mahn III on lead vocals. And when Mahn does sing, his lyrics are very spiritual and contemplative. Mahn speaks of things like wanting to find “sanctuary in God’s arms” and having a desire to purge these demons from my soul, but he isn’t preachy about it he doesn’t sound like he’s trying to cram a religious agenda down anyone’s throat but rather, is contemplating and analyzing his own place in the world. A generally decent, if derivative, outing, Sanctuary will appeal to those who still hold Pink Floyd, Genesis and the Moody Blues in high regard.