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Romance With The Unseen (1999)

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Jack Dejohnette

With Romance With the Unseen, Don Byron decides to not focus on a particular musical style, as he has done for most of his albums. Instead, he chooses to craft an album of songs that live up to the record's title; these are songs that feel romantic, but aren't love songs. Like most of Byron's albums, there's an abundance of technique and emotion, yet each track feels distinctly different from the others, while managing to form a cohesive whole. The most impressive thing about Romance With the Unseen is that, while it takes chances (how could it not, with Bill Frisell, Jack deJohnette, and Drew Gress forming Byron's backing band?), it never sounds inaccessible. It's a shining example of mainstream jazz at its best -- stimulating, provocative, and entertaining, all at once. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine