The primary challenge facing guitarist David "Fuze" Fiuczynski appears to be keeping his great powers in check. Fuze has a frightening mastery of his instrument, which manifests itself in exquisite control of tone and inhuman virtuosity. His newly-revised FHT represents an outgrowth of the Screaming Headless Torsos, which scream no more after the departure of vocalist Dean Bowman. But the basic thrust of the group remains the same: funk tinged with jazz; jazz tinged with funk. Color everywhere; expectations eagerly denied. Fuze makes a conscious effort to focus his energy on thematic development and group cohesion, and as a result Amandala represents a step forward.
The compositions on Amandala, all originals, were written by Fiuczynski as well as drummer Gene Lake and percussionist Daniel Sadownick. They offer occasional hints at threads and themes from earlier Fuzelicious material, revealing a higher vocabulary for this long-standing NYC group. Amandala documents a progression in maturity for both the guitarist and his quartet. Subtlety plays a larger role here; and new shades of rhythm and tone expand to fill the space which used to be occupied by vocals. Sadownick's percussion plays a critical role in enriching the polyrhythmic foundation of the group and enabling the other players to step out and explore. Overall, the feel of Amandala is much more open and spacious than previous discs. But despite his own best efforts, it's Fiuczynski who leaves the tallest shadow. He experiments with highly processed dimensions of texture; his angular lines twist about, toying with rhythm and defying harmonic expectations.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.