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Anthony Jackson / Yiorgos Fanakas: Interspirit (2010)

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Anthony Jackson / Yiorgos Fanakas: Interspirit He's performed with a seemingly countless array of artists—from Roberta Flack and Steely Dan
Steely Dan
Steely Dan
b.1972
band/orchestra
to Chick Corea
Chick Corea
Chick Corea
b.1941
piano
, John Scofield
John Scofield
John Scofield
b.1951
guitar
, and Steve Khan
Steve Khan
Steve Khan
b.1947
guitar
—but electric contrabassist Anthony Jackson, now approaching 60, is that rare consummate sideman who has never released an album as a leader/co-leader. Until now. Interspirit teams the inveterate bassist with Greek bassist Yiorgos Fakanas for an ambitious album of high power fusion and funk that may be bass heavy, but never loses sight of the larger musical perspective.



With Fakanas the composer of all but one of Interspirit's nine tracks— an expansive rework of Wayne Shorter

Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
b.1933
saxophone
's enduring "Footprints" is the sole exception—it's safe to assume that one thing stopping Jackson from leading dates in the past is that he's simply not a writer. He may not contribute compositionally to Interspirit, but his lithe dexterity is all over it; Jackson's acumen as a melodist and unfailing groove-meister has never been in question, but never has it been so consistently in the spotlight—though here, he seamlessly exchanges roles with Fakanas, no slouch of a bassist himself.



Fakanas has recruited a large cast, with a core group that also includes keyboardist Mitchel Forman

Mitchel Forman
Mitchel Forman
b.1956
piano
(John McLaughlin
John McLaughlin
John McLaughlin
b.1942
guitar
, John Scofield
John Scofield
John Scofield
b.1951
guitar
, Gary Burton
Gary Burton
Gary Burton
b.1943
vibraphone
), drummer Dave Weckl
Dave Weckl
Dave Weckl
b.1960
drums
(Corea, Khan, Mike Stern
Mike Stern
Mike Stern
b.1953
guitar
} and, on five tracks, fusion powerhouse guitarist Frank Gambale
Frank Gambale
Frank Gambale
b.1958
guitar
. So it will come as no surprise that the majority of Interspirit is filled with raucous energy and muscular soloing. But with a seven-piece horn section, five strings, and percussion, Fakanas has plenty of color on his palette, allowing him to deliver the fiery Latin pulse of "Caldera," with its vibrant horns, as easily as the more majestic "Cuore Vibes Part 1," which begins with a string quintet, leading into the funkier "Part 2," where Forman takes a piano solo that combines pure lyricism with unmistakable technique.



Taken at a frighteningly fast tempo, the knotty themes, shifting meters, and contrapuntal dervishes of the opening "Inner Power" set the bar high, along with high velocity solos from Gambale and Forman (on synth)—the latter supported by Jackson's visceral, in-the-gut long tones and unerring sense of placement. Rather than always playing together and cluttering the field, Jackson and Fakana alternate supporting the soloists, and after a couple of tracks, it becomes easy to differentiate the two, even without the benefit of liner notes that detail who is doing what, and when.



Jackson is credited with "bass melodies" throughout, though it's Fakanas who takes the lion's share of the solos. Fakanas' strength as a writer is finding ways to bring two virtuosic bassists together without ever getting in each other's way—and without falling into the unfortunate "look at me" of Marcus Miller

Marcus Miller
Marcus Miller
b.1959
bass, electric
's recent solo work. As much as it is about the playing, the exhilarating Interspirit is about the writing; bold and sweeping, it's fusion in the realm of Corea's The Leprechaun (Polydor, 1975), and is exhilaratingly recommended for fusion fans looking for some orchestration with their high octane soloing.


Track Listing: Inner Power; Footprints; Cuore Vibes Part 1; Cuore Vibes Part 2; Interspirit; Seviglia; Caldera; Ionio II; Parhelia.

Personnel: Anthony Jackson: contrabass guitar (1, 2, 4-9); Yiorgos Fakanas: bass guitar (1, 4-7, 9), fretless bass guitar (2, 4, 8); Frank Gambale: guitar (1, 5, 7, 9), acoustic guitar (6); Mitch Forman: keyboards (1, 2, 4-9), piano (4, 8); Dave Weckl: drums (1, 2, 4-9); Mihail Iosifov: trumpets (1, 4-7, 9); Manos Theodosakis: trumpets (1, 7); Antonis Andreou: trombones (1, 2, 4-9); Velislav Stoianov: trombones (1, 7); Takis Paterelis: alto saxophones (1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9), flute (2, 5), soprano saxophone (2, 8); Sam Marlierili: tenor saxophones (1); Todor Tzachev : baritone saxophone (1, 7); Odysseus Korelis: violin (3, 4, 6, 8); Franc Shestani: violin (3, 4, 6, 8); Elias Sdoukos: viola (3, 4, 6, 8); Vangjel Nina: cello (3, 4, 6, 8); Tasos Kazaglis: contra bass (3, 4, 6, 8); Tony Lakatos: tenor saxophone (4-7, 9); Enrique Bu: percussion (5-9).

Record Label: Abstract Logix

Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


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