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Joel Hoekstra


After a few years of playing with various other musical projects, Hoekstra returned to the studio to complete his sophomore effort The Moon is Falling. Again joined by Fierabracci on bass and Donati on drums, Hoekstra continues his journey through classically inspired, funky jazz blues-rock. Chris Grove, a guest musician on Undefined, is listed as part of the band for The Moon is Falling. However, it doesn't really sound like the keys have taken on more prominence since their background role on the first release. There are guest sax, flute, and keyboard players on this album also, but the musical focus is still squarely on the guitar, bass and drums. And for good reason. Just from listening to the opening track, it's pretty obvious these three guys can flat-out shred. "Fire Island" sounds like a circus carnival on drugs. Fierabracci's bass solos in this song are reminiscent of Jeff Berlin. The guitar runs in "Euphoria" are Allan Holdsworth-fast and the tritone phrases in the tension-filled "9/11" are nice. The outer space sound byte filled "Join Us" is a good showcase for the trio with lots of complex cross-modal riffing and a jacked up funky groove in multiple time signatures. Both these albums are solid instrumental rock-power-trio outings that compare favorably to and should appeal to fans of releases by Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Eric Johnson. Hoekstra, Donati and Fierabracci are great players who fit well together.

--Mike Grimes, EXPOSE

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