All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

183

Cool Bop Phonics: Cool Bop Phonics

Ed Kopp By

Sign in to view read count
If you like fusion that’s more bop than pop, Cool Bop Phonics is well worth tracking down.

Cool Bop Phonics was born out of a series of Friday night jam sessions at a club called Robin Hood’s in Stamford, Conn. Organized by percussionist Gerard "Vito" Diacri, these sessions attracted a bevy of veteran jazzers from New York City and surrounding area. Some of the players were so inspired by the get-togethers that they decided to capture the same spirit on CD.

The result is an intense electric-jazz recording that fuses bop, funk, Latin, reggae and Brazilian styles. To the musicians’ credit, there are no concessions to smooth-jazz radio on this album. Cool Bop Phonics is a superior set of nine contemporary fusion tunes marked by jagged polyrhythms, intersecting lines and ferocious solos.

Five of the tunes were written by Alan Eicher, a veteran keyboardist who’s backed saxmen Lou Donaldson, Charles McPherson and Brandon Fields, among others. Eicher is accustomed to working with sax players, and Ken Gioffre’s saxophone is prominently featured on many of his tunes. Gioffre is a capable player in the Michael Brecker mold, equally comfortable on tenor and soprano, while Eicher divides his time between electric keyboards and piano. Factor in Bill Bickford’s fiery guitar, the propulsive drumming of Kim Plainfield, Diacri’s percussive flourishes, and some funky bass by Kip Sophos and Dave Anderson, and this is one hot fusion ensemble.

Gioffre and guitarist Bill Bickford trade cool solos on the opening track, a reggae-bop hybrid called "I Hear Talkin’." "Falling North" is an airy number reminiscent of the Yellowjackets, while Plainfield’s "Boat People" brings to mind Wayne Shorter. Bickford’s "Latino" is perhaps the most accessible track on the album, and it features some nice playing by flutist Charles Haynes over rapid Latin rhythms laid down by Plainfield, Diacri and Herb Clay (percussion). Plainfield also wrote the closing track, an upbeat fusion anthem entitled "Commando Search." The bop-funk tunes "DK Dance" and "Buster’s Blues" help to round out a nice set of no-nonsense fusion.

Even hard-nosed jazz critics who normally pan fusion bands might warm up to Cool Bop Phonics. It’s certainly one of the best independent fusion releases I’ve heard this year.

If you’re interested, you can order the CD through the band’s Web site .

Title: Cool Bop Phonics | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: In A Real House Productions

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Rumah Batu CD/LP/Track Review
Rumah Batu
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 17, 2018
Read The Bat Swings! CD/LP/Track Review
The Bat Swings!
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Terrestrial CD/LP/Track Review
Terrestrial
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Get Somethin' CD/LP/Track Review
Get Somethin'
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Bansangu Orchestra CD/LP/Track Review
Bansangu Orchestra
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Smart Grid CD/LP/Track Review
Smart Grid
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 16, 2018
Read "Formidable" CD/LP/Track Review Formidable
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: November 24, 2017
Read "Unbroken" CD/LP/Track Review Unbroken
by Walter Atkins
Published: July 7, 2018
Read "Simiskina" CD/LP/Track Review Simiskina
by John Sharpe
Published: December 26, 2017
Read "Standards" CD/LP/Track Review Standards
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 16, 2017
Read "Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics" CD/LP/Track Review Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: July 5, 2018
Read "The Big Band Side of Andrew Neu" CD/LP/Track Review The Big Band Side of Andrew Neu
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2018