Graham Reid | | 1 min read
We've had to do our homework on this but, on the basis of a sample track sent our way, we were very happy to do so.
This is what we've learned.
This adventurous funky jazz quartet were formed in '92 by the metal bassist Steve Di Giorgio who has worked with Testament, Megadeth and many others (but references Jaco Pastorius as an influence), saxophone/flute player Flamp Sorvari and drummer/engineer Chris Dugan (who later worked punk rockers Green Day on their 21st Century Breakdown and the American Idiot cast recording).
Guitarist Eric Cutler came on board, but subsequently replaced by Ken Schultz.
It is the Sorvari, Di Giorgio, Schultz and Dugan line-up which recorded this material as a demo in 98, now re-mastered and released with some extra tracks (one with Cutler) available digitally, on CD and vinyl.
First, if you came here for the “jazz” reference but have recoiled at “metal” and “punk” just hold on.
This hard hitting quartet are more akin to an inventive jazz fusion outfit as Sorvari and Schultz not only display considerable chops.
But also – and this is important – know when to pull right back (check the title track and the incendiary bass coda by Di Giorgio) and hit a smart spot between fast'n'furious fretwork and saxy funk (Synaptic Static).
They pull in world music styles for The Pharaoh and the Nomad with its tricky rhythmic shifts and Sorvari on flute which may strike some as the muscular offspring of early Jethro Tull and King Crimson.
Orange Moon is almost pastoral in places, other than sitting on a substructure of Jaco-bass funk.
It's prog-jazz Jim, but not as we know it.
In fact, this is jazz for those coming from the rock or fusion end of the spectrum (listen to Changing Weather and you'll hear the latter reference, suggested to by the track's title) and if it's sometimes a white-knuckle ride you won't regret it.
You can hear this album at bandcamp here where you can order it in one of its formats.