All masters of their instruments, The Psychic Horns are John Allmark, trumpet, John Wheeler, trombone and Dan Moretti, woodwinds. Their debut album runs with a play list of originals by Allmark and Moretti plus two pieces of familiar music. The liner notes hawk the varied backgrounds of the players, funk, pop, jazz, etc., and there's a tad of all here, with contemporary pop (rock) appearing to prevail. While the three horn players get the prime spot on the marquee, the smeary keyboard of John Cook and the drum's back beat get equal time and are sometimes distracting with their monotonous beat. Nonetheless, there are biting and infectious rhythms found in the original material, like Allmark's "Monday Night at Amsterdam's" and Moretti's aptly dubbed "Trippin'". The latter's coda alone is worth working through the repetitive, cloying chorus of the keyboards and rat-a-tat-of the drums. The album's shocker is a modern dressing of the usually benign "Have You Met Miss Jones" which kicks off with crashing measures seguing into a rough and ready treatment of the melody line. Then comes the improvising by Allmark's sharp tongued trumpet. This track proves again that for the most part, the chord structures of classic and jazz standards offer the best opportunities for imaginative jazz players to extemporize. Giving the ears some relief, Ben Cook sets aside the keyboards for a piano, or at least turns on the piano switch. The coda trails off into some more structured dissonance. By far, this is the premier track on the album because of its devil may care arrangement allowing the performers to display their not insignificant skills.
The music found here is neither relaxing nor easy on the vascular system. The performers goat it with a vengeance on every cut. If you like exciting, varied music, then you will fully enjoy this album. Traditionalists will have a more difficult time. But if psychic is used as a prediction of things to come for this group, you better tighten your seat belt and batten down the hatches.
Personnel: John Allmark - Trumpet; Dan Moretti - Woodwinds; John Wheeler - Trombone; Ben Cook - Keyboards; Bruce Bartlett - Guitar; Bill Miele - Bass; Vinny Pagano*, Marty Richards - Drums; Bob Bowlby - Baritone Sax