These players work together with the oneness of a band that’s been together for decades, and the compositions (all by Parsons) are an engaging mix. Parsons’ EWI conjures warm synthesized sounds on the title track, carefully avoiding Brecker’s prior wind-synth paths which might make it come off as stale. Shortly he switches to tenor, his main horn for most of the album. There is a typical contemporary-jazz flair and polish to the tunes, although they don’t suffer from the sterile production that curses the “smooth jazz” industry. I was surprised at the number of devious turns in the music here. Track #2 begins with a McCann guitar vamp that sounds drawn from African highlife patterns, but once the rest of the band enters that African vibe is lost. Similarly, the bass pattern that kicks off #4 echoes Lester Leaps In, but the tenor/guitar melody sounds more like a present-day Pharoah Sanders tune. This isn’t a complaint, mind you, just observing some unexpected turnabouts. The initial chilled-out theme of #5 would be at home on a number of ECM Records releases, though Holober’s Fender Rhodes and McCann’s edgy guitar solo warm things up. Parsons is the predominant voice throughout, and Lewin offers up the ideal kind of rhythmic support, dead-on-target for each musical style and twist.
The last three selections were recorded live at the Irish Arts Center in New York City. McCann and Hebert are replaced here by guitarist Chris Tarrow and bassist Doug Weiss. Parson blows warm soprano on #6 over Weiss’ and Lewin’s gently booting rhythms. Track #7 is a tenor ballad in the firm tradition of all tenor ballads, beginning with an unaccompanied intro that dissects the melody and burbles through some quick scalar runs. The closing track is almost 13 minutes long; its theme transmutes oh-so-subtly from temperate modern jazz to minor clashes to Latin hip-shaking and back again.
Fundementia’s sound is smoother than some presently popular types of fusion, but certainly more adventurous and inviting than much music that clutters the contemporary jazz market. These cats aren’t just in it for the cash and attention, and the live tracks here show they don’t need studio wizards to clean up after them and make the album sound presentable. Their act is all together and highly entertaining. (http://sonsofsound.com/artists/fundementia.html)
Track Listing: A Whole Nother Story; Slush Piranhas; I Can Hear You Waiting; What They Do In Tents; Like Weeds On The Ruins; A Reason For Raisins; Jaded; Bluish News.
Personnel: Andy Parsons, saxophones, EWI; Gene Lewin, drums; Mike Holober, piano. Tracks 1-5: Pete McCann, guitars; John Hebert, bass. Tracks 6-8: Chris Tarrow, guitar; Doug Weiss, bass.
Record Label: Sons of Sound
Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock
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