While I haven’t managed a lot of getting together with my musical pals this year, I have been listening to a ton of good music.
In the ‘nobody wants to call it fusion but it’s hard to describe it as anything else’ world there have been two stand out releases. Scott Henderson, Jeff berlin and Dennis Chambers have put their energy into music rather than imaginative album titles with ‘HBC’ which makes them sound like a bank. This is an album of mostly covers from the genre known as ‘nobody wants to call it fusion but it’s hard to describe it as anything else’ reimagined for bass, drums and guitar. As an album it positively burns from the first note.
The incredible talent of John McLaughlin and his Fourth Dimension band have brought out the grammatically suspect ‘Now Here This’. Maybe it’s a tribute to Oasis. No, of course it’s not. This is more music that, if you must classify things belongs to ‘nobody wants to call it fusion but it’s hard to describe it as anything else’. What’s great about this album is that the phenomenal technique doesn’t get in the way of the feel. You can listen, be blown away by what these guys can do, then listen again. Not all albums pass that test.
Thanks to writer and e-pal Sid Smith’s excellent podcast I discovered a Belgian group called Aranis and their album ‘Made in Belgium’. Complex, mostly acoustic and seriously hard to classify so let’s not even go there music is what Aranis have made and they’ve inspired me to check out their back-catalogue. I love it for its almost endless twists and turns and the way obviously very difficult interplay is made to sound effortless. While the other two albums inspire me to air bass (or indeed real bass, if I’m feeling brave) ‘Made in Belgium’ makes me want to jig around the kitchen.
For now though it’s time for me to get back in the woodshed.