Bassist Dave Sharp and his Secret Seven ensemble interconnect an expansive jazz layout with New Orleans swamp-funk, world-beat rhythm structures, and variable components of Eastern and Western fare. They propagate a cheery panorama via these sustainable compositions, often highlighted by memorable hooks and edgy soloing ventures by multi-reedman Chris Kaercher and others. Variety looms as a significant positive, where the band abides by a festive disposition throughout.
Sharp lays down a fluid and at times, monstrous bottom-end on these pieces, teeming with punchy horns and rollicking jazz-grooves. And Kaercher often bullwhips matters into submission with his corpulent attack and torrid phrasings, yet often tempers the current when required. Many of these pieces are engineered with gobs of impact and a sweeping wall-of-sound aura, to complement some shuffling grooves abetted by Dale Grisa's Hammond B3-initiated soul-funk passages.
On "Blackout," the band spawns a tender melody line, enamored by Kaercher's radiant sax and Grisa's trickling piano phrasings. Here, the band works within a harmonically appealing vibe. Sharp's clever arrangements fuse the past with the present, to complement the artists' bold and brash statements, all underscored by an entertaining outlook.
Armed with a big sound, Secret Seven intersperses an Afro-Cuban element into the grand schema as guest artists lend a hand within various movements by injecting East Indian, jazz-fusion and Americana elements. Hence, a multifaceted gala that skirts an often-opaque region, consisting of power, eloquence and warmth, neatly packed into a rather all-encompassing presentation.
Personnel: Dave Sharp: electric and upright bass, guitar; Chris Kaercher: soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, flute and harmonica; Eric "Chucho" Wilhelm: drums and percussion; Dale Grisa: Hammond B3 and piano. Featuring--Kris Kurzawa: guitar; Ross Huff: trumpet and flugelhorn; John Churchville: tabla; Chris McCall: vocals; Sean Ike: vocals; Jon-Paul Frappier: guitar; Alex Anest: lap steel; Eenor: yayli tanbur.