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Neal Schon: The Calling

Journey guitarist’s clever-clever seventh solo album.

Neal Schon spent a mere four days recording this musical masterclass alongside his former Journey bandmate, drummer Steve Smith. Igor Len later overdubbed piano to give Schon a multi-layered fusion-rock that (mostly) gives multi-layered fusion-rock a good name.

The 12 songs revisit the soundscapes of the two early ’80s Schon & Hammer albums, but The Calling is entirely instrumental.

Journey it ain’t then, then, but when it’s good it’s more than musos showing off. Schon’s soloing is jaw-droppingly impressive – witness True Emotion, Transonic Funk or Carnival Jazz. Jan Hammer returns to add Moog on the frantic and exotic Fifty Sixplus Tumbleweeds – which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Rush album – and Smith’s drumming on Back Smash is stunning.

And if you want to, y’know, dance, the title track has a nice-and-ratty funk vibe halfway between Aerosmith and Tommy Bolin.

Freelance contributor to Classic Rock and several of its offshoots since 2006. In the 1980s he began a 15-year spell working for Kerrang! intially as a cub reviewer and later as Geoff Barton’s deputy and then pouring precious metal into test tubes as editor of its Special Projects division. Has spent quality time with Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Ritchie Blackmore, Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore – and also spent time in a maximum security prison alongside Love/Hate. Loves Rush. Aerosmith and beer. Will work for food.