fusion Archive

Album Review: Allan Holdsworth — Leverkusen ’97

When progressive/fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth passed away in April 2017, he left behind a substantial body of work. Not long before his death, Manifesto Records put together an impressive boxed set, The Man Who Changed Guitar Forever! (he had issues with that title, as he told me in his next-to-last interview before his death). And

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

Album Review: Miles Davis’ ‘Jack Johnson’ at 50 (Part Two)

Continued from Part One … Side Two of Miles Davis’ Jack Johnson features the same players plus a different lineup, and in fact the aggregation wasn’t credited on the original LP. McLaughlin returns, joined by gonzo electric guitarist Sonny Sharrock. The bassist now is Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette plays drums. Bennie Maupin – whose

Album Review: Miles Davis’ ‘Jack Johnson’ at 50 (Part One)

Much is made – and rightly so – of Miles Davis’ landmark 1970 release Bitches Brew. The album represented Davis’ adventurous foray into the (previously unoccupied) space in which rock and jazz coexisted. True, others had made moved toward bridging the gap between the two genres, but none had done so as forcefully and uncompromisingly

Album Review: The Justin Rothberg Group – Hurricane Mouse

Too often, when an artist makes music that starts with a jazz foundation and leans in an “accessible” direction, the result is smooth jazz. Ugh. It’s the rare artist who takes jazz textures and makes music that is both challenging and melodic. Hurricane Mouse by the Justin Rothberg Group is a successful case in point:

Album Review: Barrett Martin Group — Scattered Diamonds

In spring of last year, I reviewed Songs of the Firebird, a resonant and deeply intriguing album that could be described in part as a jazz album made with non-jazz musicians helping out. That record leaned in a bit of an avant-big-band direction. This newest release from the group is even more accessible. Scattered Diamonds

Album Review: Allan Holdsworth – Frankfurt ‘86

Being an early adopter is a risky pursuit. Godley and Creme built an entire album (the triple-LP Consequences) around their Gizmo, and disaster ensued. Some of the earliest releases with the Synclavier were stiff and mannered. But fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth was having none of that restraint when he dove headlong into the world of

Album Review: Miles Davis – Music From and Inspired by ‘Birth of the Cool’

There’s a trend in recent years: when releasing a film’s companion audio, the CD is sometimes branded as “Music From and Inspired By…” That gives to compiler of the audio document a freer hand to include material that is conceptually relevant even if it didn’t feature in the film itself. Such releases can’t strictly be

30 Days Out, June 2020 #1: TAUK, Ben Folds, Vancouver Electronic Ensemble, John Prine Tribute

In recent weeks I’ve conducted interviews with a number of professions whose businesses involve servicing the music community in various ways. A consensus seems to be forming – and this isn’t likely to come as any surprise to you, I suspect – that widespread live concerts aren’t likely to return until 2021. Festivals and small

Free Planet Radio: In Pursuit of Modern Jazz

When Free Planet Radio debuted in 2001, the Asheville-based trio was often described as a world music group. And while by definition that label casts a wide net, it was never quite expansive enough to get to the heart of what Free Planet Radio does. The three creatively adventurous musicians have always explored many styles,