Continuum: Passages

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No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Los Angeles, California-based jazz-rockers “Continuum” display maturity, enviable chops and cohesive interplay on their 3rd and latest recording, Passages. Comprised of top-notch session aces, this band injects the finer elements of fusion with traditional jazz etiquette and methodologies along with a sharp, rugged edge!

“Continuum” pursues contemporary musings with conviction and power while also integrating the occasional display of pyrotechnics, which is most notably evident on their scorching rendition of John McLaughlin’s “Celestial Terrestrial Commuters”. In some respects, this band might appeal to those who dig the “Yellowjackets” yet these musicians push the envelope a tad more than many of our better-known jazz-rockers or electro-acoustic ensembles. On many of these pieces, the group turns in cyclic themes atop bouncy rhythms and linear lines sparked by the dual attack of saxophonist Phil Carman and keyboardist Craig Ochikubo while drummer/percussionist Christopher Garcia and electric bassist Steve Billman handle the rhythms with grace and vigor.

Tricky time signatures and walloping choruses subside on the airy and softly executed composition, “Devotion” which is all about faint synth backwashes and climactic development while “Seventh Hour” boasts radiant unison lines, frisky soloing, firm backbeats and melodious interplay. The musicians implement brisk, cutting edge jazz lines and compact phraseology amid swinging yet at times odd-metered rhythms on “Excerpt #1” as the band exhibits resounding effectiveness at integrating groove orientated vibes while also maintaining salient and memorably melodic motifs.

Overall, the musicians impress with a strong and thoroughly unified sense of direction intermingled with noteworthy compositions and sterling ensemble work. If you found yourself getting a bit bored with the existing contempo-fusion scene, then you might want to give Passages an audition as this band elevates applied concepts to lofty heights while providing a few thrills along the way. Nice job gentlemen!

* * * * (out of * * * * *)

Personnel:

Paul Carman; Soprano, Alto and Tenor Saxophones: Craig Ochikubo; Synthesizers, Keyboards: Steve Billma; Fretted and Fretless Electric Basses: Christopher Garcia; Drumset, Tabla, Olla, Electronic and Miscellaneous Percussion.

Visit http:/idt.net/~ochikubo or email LiraProduction@ibm.net for additional information

Record Label: Nine Winds Records

Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


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