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Gary Willis: Something to Say

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Sixteen years in Tribal Tech, the most innovative of post-Weather Report fusion bands, confirmed the status of Gary Willis as a modern-day bass icon. Picking up where Jaco Pastorius left off, Willis's explorations are stretching the possibilities of the fretless bass as a lead instrument, as evidenced on two 2007 releases, the storming Slaughterhouse 3 and his third solo album, Actual Fiction--a bass album unlike any other--both on Abstract Logix.In a revealing interview Willis lends insight into his theory and talks about some of the defining experiences and influences in his career. He also shares his forthright opinions ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gary Willis: Actual Fiction

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As co-founder, with guitarist Scott Henderson, of now-defunct fusion group Tribal Tech, bassist Gary Willis has never been averse to technology. By the time the group released its eponymous fourth album in 1991, there were times when it was nearly impossible to tell who was doing what. With the exception of drummers Kirk Covington (ex-Tribal Tech) and David Gomez on seven of its ten tracks, Willis goes it completely alone on Actual Fiction, an album of monster chops, penetrating grooves, samples and quirky electronic textures that demonstrates just how much one person can do with the aid of the latest ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gary Willis: Actual Fiction

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One might be forgiven for thinking that bassist extraordinaire Gary Willis has the titles of the first two songs on Actual Fiction the wrong way round. “Cartoon Fetish is a slightly frantic drum 'n' bass rave with a Prodigy-like bullishness that would be ideal to rock a party and rattle your neighbors' windows. The wonderfully titled “Smells Like a Party is an irresistible piece of head-bobbing funk of the type Prince cooks up, and would make a great soundtrack for a cartoon.

Whatever the titles, the music on Actual Fiction certainly transports the listener to some interesting places. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gary Willis/Kirk Covington/Llibert Fortuny: Slaughterhouse 3

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The musical collaboration between bassist Gary Willis and drummer Kirk Covington goes back a long way, to college bands and later with jazz/fusion band Tribal Tech. Over twenty-five years later (and seven years after the demise of Tribal Tech) the two musicians are still creating great rhythms together on Slaughterhouse 3.. Joined by adventurous Spanish saxophonist Llibert Fortuny, the trio has made an album of powerful grooves which falls outside conventional categorization, yet which remains wholly accessible.

The tone for much of the music is set by the opening title track, a power-trio funk number which goes from ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gary Willis / Llibert Fortuny / Kirk Covington: Slaughterhouse 3

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Anyone familiar with electric bassist Gary Willis (co-founder of the powerhouse fusion outfit Tribal Tech) and drummer Kirk Covington (a longtime member of that same group) will know that any saxophone trio they're involved with will be far removed from convention. Add saxophonist Llibert Fortuny, a rising star on the Spanish jazz scene, and the result is Slaughterhouse 3, an energized, take-no-prisoners album that, with its combination of potent grooves, wild electronics and freewheeling improvisation, will appeal equally to fans of fusion, jam-bands and electronica.

Virtuosity is a given. What separates the men from the boys here is how, on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brett Garsed/TJ Helmerich/Gary Willis/Dennis Chambers/Scott Kinsey: Uncle Moe?s Space Ranch

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I will have to say this first off, Whoa! This funked-n-free-jam fusion splash is a tricky ride. Though truly off-center and extremely innovative in many solos and song structures -- you gotta love this releases overall groove. Everybody seems wide open, slammin', chops-laden, pumpin' and hard groovin'--and 100% slick! It is a mine field of genius, crunch, technical feats of fusion and best of all -- full of soul and fire. This is no limp-wristed, rag doll fuzak. No! GnHnWnCnK have crafted a must-hear, nouveau fusion of jazz/funk/rock and treatments. If you dig GnH or Tribal Tech then just buy ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Scott Henderson/Gary Willis -Tribal Tech: Rocket Science

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“Tribal Tech” is a band that have almost single-handedly revived fusion from the sunken depths of obscurity while consistently reinventing their group sound and approach for over ten years now. Here the musicians enter the studio without any preconceived notions or rigid game plans yet have produced one of their finest efforts in years, titled Rocket Science.

Complete with tongue-in-cheek CD cover art depicting a female in a bathing suit riding what appears to be a tin rocket (phallic symbol), the musicians soar skyward amid a signature style consisting of brazen soloing, impacting rhythms and altogether stunning ensemble work. On ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Scott Henderson/Gary Willis/Tribal Tech: Thick

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Tribal Tech co-leaders Scott Henderson (guitars) and Gary Willis (bass) sought a new direction with this latest release, the band's ninth. In the past, Henderson and Willis conceived their compositions in advance, then fleshed them out in the studio. This time they entered the studio without any preconceptions and just spent three days jamming and recording. Afterwards the quartet selected the best moments and added a few embellishments. Thick may be the boldest effort yet from one of the most uncompromising bands in the fusion genre. Don't expect any wimpy made-for-radio melodies from Tribal Tech, because this group ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gary Willis: Bent

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Gary Willis presents nine jazzy and funkified pieces all his own and two he co-wrote with bandmates. The personnel here are Tribal Tech's bassist Willis, Scott Kinsey on keys, and Kirk Covington drumming on two tracks. Dennis Chambers provides sweet drums on eight tracks. Reeds are Steve Tavaglione wailing on EWI, (electronic wind instrument), tenor and soprano sax and clarinet. Bob Berg also guests playing one mean tenor sax on three tracks.

Imagine Tribal Tech with no Scott Henderson pyrotechnics but Willis stretching out more so on the bass with great reed work heating things up -- and you have ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gary Willis: Gary Willis

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Tribal Tech co-founder Gary Willis garnered widespread critical acclaim for his 1996 solo debut No Sweat, a release that I found easy to admire but hard to love. I've grown to love Bent, the second solo effort from the talented Texas bassist. Willis takes groove music to another level on this funky and intricate CD. Bent is a bit less dissonant and far more vigorous than its predecessor. Nine of these 11 tracks feature fat funky bottoms, hard-bopping tops, percolating polyrhythms, and inspired improvisations.From the quirky racing bop of “Armageddon Blues" to the industrial funk of ...



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