All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

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 Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller CD/LP/Track Review
Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Change In The Air CD/LP/Track Review
Change In The Air
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Vera CD/LP/Track Review
Vera
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 18, 2018
Read In Motion CD/LP/Track Review
In Motion
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Marshian Time Slip CD/LP/Track Review
Marshian Time Slip
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Four On The Road CD/LP/Track Review
Four On The Road
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 17, 2018
Read "La Terza Via" CD/LP/Track Review La Terza Via
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 9, 2018
Read "Rabble Rouser" CD/LP/Track Review Rabble Rouser
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: October 1, 2017
Read "Fullmoon" CD/LP/Track Review Fullmoon
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 24, 2018
Read "Book Of Sound" CD/LP/Track Review Book Of Sound
by Gareth Thompson
Published: December 8, 2017
Read "Long Haul" CD/LP/Track Review Long Haul
by Paul Rauch
Published: December 22, 2017
Read "Oblique (trio)" CD/LP/Track Review Oblique (trio)
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 12, 2018