147

Christopher Gross Ensemble: Hit the Mark

By

Sign in to view read count
Saying that this modern-day guitar-violin fusion quintet was influenced by Jean-Luc Ponty's band circa late 70s would be an understatement. The CD's title track opener, which they admit is a "variation" on Ponty's "Mirage," could be found by a sympathetic court to be so close to the original as to be plagiarism. The next tune, while largely original, quotes directly from the third movement of "The Struggle of the Turtle to the Sea." Ponty is not the band's only influence, however; "Funky Monkey" is vaguely reminiscent of another violin quintet, the Dixie Dregs. The band does chart its own course on most of the rest of the program. "Rita," for example, floats along comfortably on a conga-driven Latin beat. The compositions, all by the leader, are sufficient platforms upon which to play. Christopher Gross, Christopher Welch, and Jeffrey Sick, on guitar, keyboards, and violin, respectively, solo proficiently.

The arrangements and performances are neat and tidy, and that's the only problem with this CD. It never really catches fire and cuts loose. Everyone stays safe and plays it close to the chart, especially the bass and drums. Passion is sacrificed for cleanliness. It takes experience in the studio to create a spirited, lively sound when the pressure's on to lay down clean, perfect tracks with no mistakes. "Eagle's Peak" is darn near sterile. On the bandstand, with a live edge and more player interaction, this band probably cooks much more than is evidenced here.

Tracks: Hit the Mark; Ryan; Means End; Funky Monkey; It Goes On; Audrey; Rita; Eagles Peak; Resolution. (61:54)

Personnel:

Christopher Gross - guitar and electric guitar; Christopher Welch - piano and keyboards; Jeffrey Sick - violin and electric 6-string violin; David Pascal - electric 5 and 6-string bass; Christopher Monroe - drums and percussion; Greg Fulton - additional electric guitar.

| Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "United" CD/LP/Track Review United
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 11, 2016
Read "Reinvented" CD/LP/Track Review Reinvented
by Jim Olin
Published: February 27, 2016
Read "The Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" CD/LP/Track Review The Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "Rising Grace" CD/LP/Track Review Rising Grace
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "Garden" CD/LP/Track Review Garden
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 21, 2016
Read "Inner Agent" CD/LP/Track Review Inner Agent
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!