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Nielsen, Jake: Perspective
Jake Nielsen Perspective Review

Nielsen, Jake: Perspective

Melodic/Progressive Rock
4.5/5.0

Coming from Virginia, Jake Nielsen is a talented multi-instrumentalist, composer and music teacher. Perspective, his first album, is the culmination of over 10 years of composing and playing. For inspiration, Nielsen draws from a triumvirate of influences. On the musical side, it's Billy Joel, in his early years, and Dream Theater, in his latter years. Lyrically, he looks to his Mormon faith and religion (not to be confused with orthodox and evangelical Christianity) for inspiration. Additionally, Nielsen did all the vocals and performed, or programmed, all the instruments on Perspective, except for the cello on A Still Small Voice.

Jake Nielsen Photo

Jake Nielsen: prepares to devour the microphone.

Nielsen also cites recent influences including Ben Folds Five and Neal Morse. Actually, it might be best to describe Nielsen's style, considering this musical and inspirational sources, as a Mormon version of Neal Morse (a confessing Christian), with heavier weight given to the piano. While hardly dismissing his compositional skills, which are exceptional, the piano work within Perspective is his greatest strength. You can hear echoes of Billy Joel, yet with a classical music style ramped up by a progressive rock injection; it's a vibrant interpretation.

Nielsen can rock, too. To Be Content, Autumn, and Let's Live are lively numbers with harder, even heavier, moments with Jake's piano leading the way. They may remind more of Morse's Spock's Beard than Dream Theater's Images and Words, which profoundly impacted Nielsen's musical career. While the early majority of Perspective has veiled references, the later How Can We Know and the autobiographical Still Small Voice are more obvious professions of Nielsen's Mormon religion. However, even if you're skeptical about religion in general, Nielsen's music is terrific, even compelling, especially on that latter song. Like the works of Neal Morse, these works should not be dismissed simply because there are references to faith, religion, or a Supreme Being.

With Perspective, Nielsen should be profoundly fulfilled and thrilled with his accomplishment, and the listener captivated by his piano-driven melodic progressive rock. Strongly recommended.

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In Short

With Perspective, Nielsen should be profoundly fulfilled and thrilled with his accomplishment, and the listener captivated by his piano-driven melodic progressive rock. Strongly recommended.

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