Jeff Berlin: In Harmony's Way
Few would debate electric bassist/clinician, Jeff Berlin’s significance among the post-Jaco soloists in jazz and fusion. With his third solo effort, amid
numerous endeavors with players such as guitarist George Benson, drummer Tony Williams, “The Brecker Brothers”, flutist Herbie Mann and many others of note, the monster bassist summons an all-star cast for his latest jazz-based project.
Berlin gets on track in a heated flurry on the opener titled, “This Is Your Brain On Jazz” as the bassist infuses amazingly fast and tightly integrated Bop-ish themes atop acoustic bassist Richard Drexler’s rapidly executed walking lines and drummer Danny Gottlieb’s swinging pulse. Here, famed vibraphonist Gary Burton tops off the fervent proceedings via his now infamous four-mallet technique.Guitarist Mike Stern exhibits his customary crash and burn style chops during “Runaway Train,” while soprano saxophonist Dave Liebman also generates some excitement in concert with Berlin’s buoyant attack and multipurpose rhythmic underpinnings.
Essentially, Berlin and associates impart a festive disposition during these largely high-octane works, however the bossa-nova tinged, “Pale Glider” offers little more than a soothing intermission to the often vigorous proceedings as the musicians reenergize their batteries on the “Tower of Power”-like funk/groove piece, “Reggae Ricardo”. Simply stated, In Harmony’s Way is all about groovin’ in the fast lane. Recommended.
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Track Listing: This Is Your Brain On Jazz; Runaway Train; Emerill Kicks It Up; Everybody Knows You When You
Personnel: Jeff Berlin; bass: Richard Drexler; piano, acoustic bass: Danny Gottlieb; drums: Guest Soloists: (selected tracks) Gary Burton; vibes: Dave Liebman; soprano & tenor saxophones: Mike Stern; guitar: Special Guest Contributors (selected tracks): Captain Billy Lang; keyboard: Clare Fischer; keyboard: Howie Shear; trumpet: Dave Stout; trombone: Doug Webb; tenor saxophone