Almost 40 years after its inception and despite many detractors among master musicians and critics, jazz-rock fusion continues to have a tenacious hold on both creators and consumers of instrumental music. Percussionist Paul Wertico's Impressions of a City puts a modern spin on the genre by creating a work that brings together jazz like improvisation and the sound of rock jam bands.
The concept behind the CD is interesting; it is supposed to be free musical impressions of an urban day, but the pieces do not coalesce together, despite being similar in spirit, into a whole that is more than the sum of its pieces. In fact the 18 short tracks (only two are over five minutes) sound like brilliant musical ideas that either are not developed to their full potential or are lost somewhere in the dominating sounds of the jam. There are occasional ECM-esque saxophone solos that feel like the beginning of something intricate and intriguing, but are, alas, short-lived. The rest of the music is drummer-driven bass and guitar interplay, with very little use of silent pauses.
Noise has been creatively used in modern music but it has also been overused. In the case of this CD, although it is used quite interestingly it definitely dominates the individual pieces. The record tries hard to create an atmosphere of a loud city day with electronic effects, fretless guitar jams and arrhythmic drumming, and it does succeed to a degree, but at the expense of the interesting musical ideas that remain stunted and are not further developed.
An interesting concept, with snippets of brilliant ideas and a lot of jamming, even though this album delivers less than it promises it is still worth exploring, given the accomplished and hugely talented artists involved, keeping it from becoming monotonous despite its weak spots.
Track Listing: A Light Too Soon; What Should I Wear Today; Bumper to Bumper; Late Again;
Beauty Wherever You Can Find It; The Boss Needs to See You; 15 Minutes for
Lunch; I Probably Shouldn't Have Done That; The Inside Track; A Chance to
Breathe; Lake Fish Flowers; My Side of the Story; Word Salad; Closing the Deal;
Drive at Five; Reflections on the Day; I Think I'm Hungry; Good Night and Good
Personnel: Paul Wertico: drums; John Moulder: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, fretless guitar;
Brian Peters: electric bass, duduk, shvi, soundscapes, synthesizer, violin, piano; Dani
Rabin: electric guitar, looping, prepared guitar, slides; Danny Markovitch: electric
soprano and tenor saxophones
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz.
Being a Musician myself, (Lead Guitar/Bass Guitar), I studied at the Dick Grove School of Music with Dick Grove, Jeff Richman and Lee Ritenour. This was around '84-'85. I started playing the Guitar in November 1967. Playing Guitar came quite naturally to me thank goodness. Though I spent hours upon hours practicing while my school buddies were doing Sports.
It was in the early '70s that I really got into Jazz, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and World Music. Seeing Weather Report, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, RTF, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, VSOP, Freddie Hubbard and so many, many more amazing artists opened my eyes to the beauty and eloquent nature of Jazz. I really love the brilliant ensemble playing that is in Jazz!!
When I play and write music, it blends so many style together. Many fans ask me why my playing sounds so jazzy. It's because I understand Blue Notes, the phrasing, the tonality, time signatures and more. I can also play Rock, Folk, Soul, R n' B and other styles too. I seem to gravitate more and more as I get older to a jazzier style. Currently I'm 62 years old. I have released 2 CDs world-wide. Working on my 3rd.
I also teach Guitar/Bass/Music Theory to my students. They range from 6 years old to much, much older. (I was hired by the City of Aurora, CO to teach ages 6-13 specifically). Currently I teach 41 children in 5 classes. Additionally another 7 private students.
My wife, Meesh, and I love Jazz dearly. It was one of the things that we share together!
Most of the people that I know today do not get jazz. I try to explain what to listen for, but many times the music of Jazz is a bit much for them. So be it.
In a nutshell, I live, breath and listen to Music 24/7. No TV except the Food Channel and Weather.
I love John Kelman's articles. They are so insightful and well-constructed!
Thank you all for doing what you do.