Album Review – Gerald Gradwohl Group — Episode 6
What might it sound like if Metallica was influenced by Allan Holdsworth? The answer might just be Episode 6, the new album by the Gerald Grawhol Group. But then Metallica have not (to my knowledge) worked saxophone into their sound. This Austrian four-piece led by guitarist Gradwohl does feature tenor sax right alongside bass and drums. The instrument imparts a jazzy feel to these knotty, tautly composed instrumental pieces. The music swings, pummels and grooves, sometimes all at once. There’s even a playful vibe to the tunes, a quality not often found in progressive/jazz excursions.
The meditative “Longing for Home” demonstrates that the GGG is about more than heaviness. Its dreamy vibe has enough bite to sustain interest for those who don’t want mellowness. “The Essence of time,” however, veers in the direction of a kind of smooth jazz; didn’t see that coming. “Jabo” starts off the same way, but its understated vibe hides some thrilling guitar work.
There’s a danger, though, in name-checking other artists when describing this music. Because the Gerald Gradwohl Group has a sound resolutely its own; these guys don’t sound like anybody else. The music might be too rocking for jazzers, too jazzy for meat-n-potatoes rockers. But for anyone who’s open to both genres, this is a new kind of fusion. Recommended.
About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: 40 Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.