Monday, June 18, 2012

Spectrum Road - Spectrum Road (Palmetto, 2012)

Spectrum Road is a jazz fusion “supergroup” consisting of Jack Bruce on bass and vocals, Vernon Reid on guitar, John Medeski on organ and keyboards and Cindy Blackman-Santana on drums. This group formed to pay tribute to Lifetime, an influential jazz fusion band that drummer Tony Williams led during the 1970’s. Bruce was briefly a member of the band, all others are unaffiliated except by influence. This band first performed in December 2008 in Tokyo and then toured and recorded in 2011. The music is fast and strong but the sound of the band differs enough to save anyone the trouble of accusing the current group of simply imitating the original group. Vernon Reid slashes and burns throughout the program notably on the opener “Vuelta Abajo,” but is also capable of great subtlety as demonstrated on “Blues for Tillmon.” Bruce and Blackman-Santana make for an interesting rhythm team, with both members, though separated by a generation, coming from a diverse musical backgrounds that allows them to continually drive the music forward. For the most part this was a successful disc that should appeal to fans of jazz-rock fusion. Occasionally Bruce’s vocals became a little overwrought, but since most of the music is instrumentally based it does not pose a significant drain on the music. Spectrum Road -

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