A Flying Leap – James Hill CD Review

Title: A Flying Leap
Artist: James Hill
Label: Borealis Records
Year: 2006


Click the image above to visit the product page on Amazon.com

Tracks:
1. Uke Talk (2:11)
2. Song for Cheri (4:23)
3. Down Rideau Canal (3:36)
4. Little Wing (3:09)
One Small Suite for ‘Ukulele:
5. I. Allegro con brio (3:30)
6. II. Largo cantabile (3:54)
7. III. Vivace giocoso (5:09)
8. Fleas My Dog Has (2:32)
9. Skipping Stone (3:16)
10. Never On Sunday (3:15)

A Flying Leap is James Hill’s latest CD, which has 10 songs with a total play time of 39 minutes and 5 seconds. This CD comes in a plastic jewel case.

Uke Talk is a fun tune that starts off fairly slow and then revs up to give you a feeling like you’re racing to cross the finish line. It has a slight ragtime feel to it that leaves you slightly breathless at the end.

Song for Cheri is a song that begins slow and easy, only to speed up and morph into a completely different song about 1 minute and 15 seconds into it. There’s even a pause in the middle of the two sections. I almost wish this song was split so that both parts could be fleshed out and turned into two songs instead of one song that feels slightly disjointed.

Down Rideau Canal is an energetic tune. There’s a video of James on his website, playing this tune standing in front of the Rideau Canal. Watching him play makes me tired 😉

Little Wing is an instrumental cover of the Jimi Hendrix song written in 1967 for his album titled Axis: Bold as Love. Great song and great arrangement of it.

I. Allegro con brio is part one of a three part classical suite. James plays ukulele and violin on these songs. This first part is a lively tune that gives you that feeling of racing like the first song did.

II. Largo cantabile is a very pretty song that is relaxing. There are not many of those on this album, so I enjoyed it.

III. Vivace giocoso is a roller coaster ride of a song. It goes fast, then slow, then dangles you upside down over the rails. James must have the fastest fingers of any ukulele player on the planet!

Fleas My Dog Has is a nice lazy paced tune with a cute name. It gives you a chance to catch your breath after listening to the previous songs.

Skipping Stone is another quick tempo happy tune.

Never On Sunday is a cover of a Greek song that was recorded by the Percy Faith Orchestra in 1961. It’s another peppy tune.

If I had to sum up A Flying Leap with a quick description, I would say that it’s a happy CD. None of the songs are melancholy or dreary. If you want music to help you fall asleep at night, this CD won’t be able to help you. But if you want some music to put you in a good mood and put a skip in your step, this one will definitely do that. I like all the songs, but the majority of them feel a bit too similar in structure and sound. My favorite song of the whole CD is Little Wing, which isn’t one of James’ own songs. I look forward to the next CD from James, with hopes of a wider variety of songs.

If you would like to buy this CD or hear track samples, please visit the Flying Leap – James Hill product page on Amazon.com

9 Responses to “A Flying Leap – James Hill CD Review”

  1. I’m a big fan of this CD. The ‘One Small Suite for Ukulele’ is worth the price of admission alone. It’s thrilling to hear him pushing at the boundaries of what it’s possible to do with the ukulele.

    I agree with you, it’s all a bit chipper. It’d be nice to hear him play a bit of dark ukulele.

  2. Have you heard his other CDs? I’m curious as to what they are like.

  3. craig robertson on December 30th, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    He’s getting darker all the time. You should hear some of his newer stuff. And i should know.

  4. Hello Craig? Does James have a newer CD than A Flying Leap? And how should you know? Are you playing music with him?

  5. He should know because he’s the Prince of Ukulele Darkness. I think inventing the Ukulele Noir genre makes him the litmus paper for that sort of thing.

    I don’t have his other CDs. None of his albums are available in the UK – I got Flying Leap through eMusic – which is a pain in the arse.

  6. I thought maybe they were collaborating or something :)

  7. […] little more lively and happy than the previous one though. It reminds me of the classical pieces on James Hill’s A Flying Leap CD. It sounds like it would be a challenge to […]

  8. I received this CD as a X-Mas gift and I love it!!! I worked at a folk music store in the city where James use to live. He was away the whole time I was there so sadly, I missed all of his workshops!! boo :(
    He is factastic and I have heard from people who are friends with him that he is a real great guy
    :)

  9. […] brand after seeing an interesting looking instrument on the front of a James Hill CD entitled A Flying Leap. A couple months later, I noticed one listed on eBay from Ukulele4U. I’m usually not […]

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