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Ozone Quartet: Fresh Blood

AAJ Staff By

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Vive la difference!! After so much indie-rock, "hats-on-backwards", cut-offs and airwalks beer-pop-tunes belching alongside the plodding behemoth of overweight heave-metal, I long for groups like Ozone Quartet. One word says it . . . refreshing.

Ethereal beauty, Hollis Brown, enchants on electric violin whilst axeman extraordinaire, Kenny Thompson twists and turns and rocks like John McLaughlin and Steve Morse. It's not empty riffing for speed records but soulful, well placed sonic seasonings that carry you down the river of prog-rock fusion dreams. An essence of King Crimson weaves itself throughout the disc as Wayne Leechford excels on Chapman Stick. His Levinesque precision is a delight to meld with. Percussive rich "bass" ties each composition together. Check Leechford out on "Dragonfly"! Francis Dyer provides complex time signature drumming and multi-atmospheric moments to each piece. I can see distant lands of ancient times in his polyrhythmic colorings and collages of beat.

80% of this album is an medium to slow paced, quirky, rocking, musical meandering through bizarre realms, fog shrouded moors, and moonlit shrines of ancient Babylon. It is a sorcery of sound, each artist playing off the other as if many arms of one unseen being. Brown and Thompson have plenty of room to stretch, wander off, and refuse the moment in each piece. Only two songs, "Surge", a very Mahavishnu Orchestra moment, and "Dragonfly", a King Crimsonic manic-overdriven tribute, dare speed along towards an upbeat frenzy.

People like references to get a feel for things so here are some comparisons. So . . . think Mahavishnu Orchestra, (Between Nothingness and Eternity) early Dixie Dregs, Curved Air, (Air Conditioning), Darryl Dobson, (The Mind Electric), early JLPonty, Steve Kindler, (on Visions of the Emerald Beyond), Mark Wood, (Voodoo Violince), Boud Deun, (Fiction and Several Days), and of course King Crimson.

Last thoughts: Hollis Brown on violin and Wayne Leechford on Chapman Stick gives this group that singularly distinctive sound. (THERE ARE NO VOCALS on this CD. So what.)

Support quality progressive music. Add this to your collection, now! File it beside "Birds of Fire".

Title: Fresh Blood | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Flat Five Records

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