Praise for Head Above Tide
February 15, 2018
"It’s interesting that Vitelli notes composer Charles Ives as an influence, because this album truly belongs to the New York tradition of pushing conventional boundaries with angular modernism. It’s a wide-ranging history, but it’s the same lineage the gave birth to the Talking Heads and the No-Wave movement. While it’s difficult to say where exactly Vitelli fits into all of this, it’s tempting to argue that his music owes more to 20th century classical composition than any pop music.”
February 14, 2018
"Something about Jason Vitelli feels wholly special. It could be that he seems so humble and genuine, or that Head Above Tide just feels like a unique release in 2018. There are so many individual twists and turns here, with little flourishes of sound that show an attention to detail. That level of care in an album is appreciated upon multiple listens and are what will make this release fun to go back to down the road. With little rewards of layers of sound and little sprinkles of instrumentation abound, this compliment of Vitelli’s voice and lyrics make Head Above Tide a knockout."
February 3, 2018
"Vitelli’s crystalline, classically-inflected piano style and clear voice give the music on Head Above Tide a regal, refined feel that may remind some of Neal Morse-era Spock’s Beard crossed with early Billy Joel. There’s a deliberately dry production aesthetic to the songs that conveys a kind of immediacy; listeners will feel as if they’re right there with Vitelli and his backing musicians . . . Head Above Tide is quite subtle, but with that subtlety comes depth. The disc may not reveal all of its charms on initial listen; ace guitar solos are sometimes buried in the mix. But repeated listens yield rewards."
April 19, 2018
"He becomes a Sisyphus of sorts, constantly rolling his stone up a hill, albeit not haplessly. Along the way, with each concurrent trip of pushing the stone a little further up and up that hill, he uncovers more about the human condition. Therein, this face of universal adversity offers a sympathetic shoulder to lean on, even amidst the amalgam of which Vitelli’s compositions are comprised . . . Listen further and you will find an indelible mixture of funk, jazz, soul, folk, rock, and more to scintillate the senses. Give it your heart and you’ll see what Vitelli was aiming for all along."
December 1 , 2017
"All evident on this album . . . carefully constructed complex, but at the same time very listenable musical structures, based on pop, jazz and classical music, intricate arrangements and thoughtful lyrics based on obvious knowledge of everything around the person who wrote them . . . he obviously has high production values too, something such music demands. Out of the 16 tracks here, there’s not even one that drops below such high standard.
February 26, 2018
“Head Above Tide lives up to its name in making an album that pokes it’s head above the typical music being recorded and released today. A music that makes you want to listen over and over as each listen revels aspects you missed the first time (or second, or third, etc) you listened. It’s artists like Jason Vitelli who keep the inventiveness in popular music - a quality sadly lacking from the major labels these days. Poke your head above the mainstream and reward your ears with music that both inspires and relaxes.”
December 1, 2017
". . . the artist has surrounded himself with talented musicians to help craft a layered and rewarding record around his words . . . Head Above Tide boasts impressive work from Vitelli and his backing band; percussionist Yorgos Maniatis is particularly noteworthy, his understated but elaborate drumming serving as the album’s backbone along with Michael O’Brien’s bass. The record is filled with warm, jazzy flourishes, including Vitelli’s warm alto sax on tracks like Autumn Hymn. Backing vocalists Lisa Trenary and Cherette give plenty of life to many of these songs, their full-bodied gospel-tinged harmonies elevating and enriching “Fault Lines” and “Welcome to My Life, Healing” among others. The instrumental track “(descension)” is a surprising highlight given that it’s only a minute long, but it quickly emphasizes the album’s clean and refined sound engineering . . ."
March 10, 2018
"His analysis and exploration of the conditions and caliber of human life is eloquently expressed in each and every song. Head Above Tide is a romance, a comedy, a fantasy, a tragedy and a grand adventure . . . It’s as if you are part of the story, sitting there in the midst of the fluid movement and rhythm . . . By joining together his enticing lyrics and melding them together effortlessly with his rich baritone voice, he has created a musical phenomena, one that has opened a new world of possibilities in a never ending universe of new worlds, all in one haunting album."
February 2, 2018
". . . The start of this year sees Vitelli sharing his newest endeavor, “Head Above Tide,” which is absolutely delightful. Filled with eclectic sounds from jazz to rock, the record is an art rocker’s dream . . . Stunning vocals, gorgeous harmonies, and skillfully crafted textures make up the record, over a bed of charming instrumentation. With each song having a life of it’s own, I fell in love with pieces such as “D-Day,” and “Trees.” Jason Vitelli has quickly become one of my favorite artists, and he as really outdone himself on this latest release. My ears are beyond pleased, as yours will be."
Praise for Confluence
May 13, 2012
"I hear everything from Peter Gabriel-era Genesis to prog-rock, with a healthy dose of singer-songwriter fare all mixed together and churned out in a completely individual manner . . . and speaking of the sound, this is where the album shines especially bright. I don't think I've ever heard an original rock recording sound so pure and uncompressed . . . You just need to wick up the volume and you'll hear this album in all its glory. The dynamics are outstanding and the tone is spot on . . ."
May 2012 Issue
". . . Jason's voice is perfectly balanced, and together with the grand piano its organic qualities and perfect tone color are simply incredible"
-Dutch-English translation by Robert de Veer
Issue 61, May/June 2012
". . . one can listen to the entire recording at one setting or just a single "side". I chose to listen to the entire recording and find it very involving all the way through with a unique and varied mixtures of styles from simple acoustic ballads to hard electric rock . . . great original music . . ."
Apr 13, 2012
"With his scratchy tenor voice (not unlike Peter Gabriel), Vitelli can alter the mood of the song, shifting into a dulcet falsetto. This dynamic is effective on other ballads, including the gospel-tinged, "American Reflection" and "A Promise"
. . . The acoustic resonance of Confluence takes on different shadings with the addition of the ensemble. "Blank Page" exhibits a haunting theme with the cello accompaniment. Small touches, like a celeste expand the sonic landscape, without altering the flow of the piece. The celeste and cello create a mosaic with harmony vocals on "River Nile". "From Egypt" evokes a classical ambiance with captivating string accents . . ."
". . . This album is a lovely mix of sweet, caressing ballads and lively, rough and rugged rock tracks . . . Indeed, the reason why this album appears on these pages is because it is a unbelievably good recording. And, as far as I know, it is the first ever live Real Stereo (just two mics) recording of pop-rock Music . . . Initially they sound so different from the usual rock recordings that one needs time to reset his ears and brain . . . powerful, lively, exactly like the band was playing inside your listening room . . . What you get is deep, thunderous bass (electric bass and drums at their best) and a distorted electric guitar that sounds so incredibly REAL! Any rock album should sound this way! . . . So stunningly different from the rest that you MUST listen to it. Period."
Lawrence de Martin
"...This is so radical you may have to "unlearn" the sound of pop before you realize this is what music sounds like, pure and honest, as if they were HERE - not some studio ideal of people but living breathing humans."
". . . Jason's music is an amazing cocktail of soft-rock, pop, blues, folk and even jazz. If I were forced to name an artist who came immediately to my mind the first time I listened to No Photographs is Elvis Costello, from his earlier albums. Even the timbre of the voice isn't that far (though Jason seems more gifted, sorry Elvis :-)). Other influences (seem to) come from Lloyd Cole, Peter Gabriel, Billy Joel and even Bob Dylan! Consider this list of artists as a reference, just to get an idea, actually Jason Vitelli's music deserves a category of its own . . . Another good example of how, even without audiophile efforts, it is possible to produce a very good recording, even a pop-rock album, a musical genre which is so often brutalized by sound engineers. "
February 22, 2018
". . . Yep, this is good stuff. And it isn't your normal fare. To give you an example, after the motatin' "Tortured Lane," Vitelli dips into mental electronics with "Locked," a space mission gone awry, before laying you back with the light pop/jazz/folk of "Morning Sun," alto sax floating over and between layers of harmony vocals, synthesized strings and acoustic guitar. On to "Zeta Male," a musical nod to rock opera, intended or not. To the very mainstream light rocking "Broken," which could have ended up on an England Dan & John Ford Coley album had the timing been right. At first, you get the feeling of a musical rollercoaster, and it is a ride."
"Vitelli incorporates a variety of genres on this record, from blues ("June"), jazz ("Morning Sun"), folk ("Long Way") and my personal favorite, soft rock. My favorite song, "Last Rites," falls into the latter category and stuck with me like leather car seats in the summertime. I thought Vitelli did a great job with the arrangements, and the string sections were well-placed and timely."