There will always be music in our upbringing that sticks with us. These songs influence the musician we grow to be. As time passes we often go back to these songs to relive our past and remember our basis. Another touch is to honor that music by presenting your own version of it using today’s musical advancements but staying true to your inspiration. Our recent find Striving Artists has dove in with both feet and released a tribute to the classic rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar”.
The Striving Artists Theater Company is the brainchild of Greg Luzitano. It has been 11 years since he founded the non-profit arts company with his sister to produce plays, short films, podcasts, and music. His love for the arts started way before that. High school piano and guitar meanderings turned into full home productions once Greg discovered the technical advancements the computer and some overdubs could provide.
For this latest project of The Striving Artists, Greg Luzitano is taking on Jesus Christ Superstar. Although the sound of the music from the classic rock opera has been altered for stage and screen versions over the years, he decided to rehash the original album from 1970. The classic “Brown” concept album was played by Joe Cocker. This meant a really gritty and grungy tone that was meant as rock music, not a musical. Striving Artists keep that sound alive with their 2017 version.
The talented Luzitano plays all of the basic instruments on the double album. He brought in an amazing array of singers to provide different voices for the multitude of characters in the story. This can not be called just a collection of songs because the path The Striving Artists take you down is mesmerizing and true to the original concept.
Right from the opening “Overture”, we are taken into a different world and time with interesting instrumentation and classic sounds combining for something truly unique. A real standout right off the bat is “What’s The Buzz” and its partner track “Strange Thing Mystifying“. The repeating group vocal presents a party atmosphere while the groove of the rhythm section turns the pages of the story. Sounds come in from all angles to fill the sonic space. As we slow it down for Strange Things Mystifying there is an air of emotion and then an angsty drum beat that carries the track forward.
The vocal skills of the entourage are highlighted on “The Temple” with each taking a turn providing an energy that cannot be denied. The classic rock feel is strong here. The musical theater really comes to life on “Pilate And Christ”. The big blasts of sound mesh perfectly with the strong and authoritative vocals of Jeremy Benson. He is perfect for this storytelling style of song. There is some fun electric piano on this one too adding another layer to focus on with multiple listens.
This amazing musical soundscape continues throughout the 24 tracks of the Jesus Christ Superstar: A Striving Artists Cast Recording album. The original 1970 concept is alive and well and represented with true honor. Sit back and dive in. You will not be disappointed.