Perhaps no other band has successfully integrated 1970's style British progressive rock with fusion and jazz improvisation while at times incorporating the finer virtues of the "Southern Rock scene than the "Dixie Dregs ! Their latest, California Screamin captures the band, "live at the legendary "Roxy Theater located in Los Angeles, California as we only wish we could have been there during those 3 nights after listening to this vivacious, hard driving exposition and altogether explosive affair.
Steve Morse's infamous mastery of the guitar is no secret. In fact, several years agoGuitar Player Magazine excluded him from competition in its annual poll, since Morse was voted #1 guitarist for something like 5 years in a row........Not a bad way to get kicked out of the voting. In any event, Morse and many of the original Dregs members are back along with a few others such as ex-Mahavishnu Orchestra violinist Jerry Goodman who here, teams with one of the original Dregs members violinist Allen Sloan. The great and yes we mean GREAT drummer Rod Morgenstein handles the polyrhythmic fury along with heralded keyboardist T. Lavitz and the dual bass attack of Dave LaRue and Andy West. Here, the Dregs kick the proceedings into high gear with Frank Zappa's classic composition titled, "Peaches En Regalia as Morse and co. remain close to the original lines and themes yet add a few notches of impact to the familiar melody and rhythmic structure. The band effortlessly whirl through a number of potent compositions while also tackling Dickie Betts of the Allman Brothers soulfully melodious and time-honored, "Jessica . The set ends with a turbo charged rendition of, well you may have guessed itthe American traditional, "Dixie as the dual violinists step up the pace as if they were performing at some Bluegrass festival where all the pro's converge. In summary, California Screamin is a welcome edition to the Dregs' vast catalogue yet more importantly marks the re-emergence of a truly great band! Recommended * * * *
Personnel: Steve Morse: Guitar; T. Lavitz: Keyboards; Rod Morgenstein: Drums; Allen Sloan: Violin; Andy West: Bass; Dave LaRue: Bass; Jerry Goodman: Violin; Dweezil Zappa ("Peaches En Regalia").