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Retro-jazz for a forty-something listener is not Miles Davis’ Kind Of Blue or John Coltrane’s My Favorite Things both of which were recorded forty years ago. No, our jazz roots are fusion. Rock and Roll nurtured babies dug Jimi Hendrix before Jon Hendricks. We came to jazz through electric jazz and fusion. Bitches Brew (1969) was in our record collection before Milestones (1958). Ellington was passed over for Jaco Pastorious. Twenty years ago, fusion was condemned by jazz purists and simultaneously co-opted by the smooth jazz scene, leaving listeners of progressive jazz to deny the dark days of electricity. Only recently has electric jazz and fusion been resurrected and dealt with outside of the smooth arena with artist like Medeski, Martin & Wood, Bill Laswell, and John McLaughlin.
For jazz-fusion fans to come out of the closet it is going to take more releases like this one from Robert Musso. The guitarist, music engineer, and label owner (MuWorks) creates a new old-sound, reminiscent of that seventies scene. With Bill Laswell applying the bottom, I was transported to memories of Jean-Luc Ponty, Weather Report, and Roy Ayers. Bernie Worrell’s organ and electric piano support smart quick solos by Dave Liebman and Byard Lancaster. Dipping into Herbie Hancock’s bag and that of Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter, Musso has created a time capsule or perhaps a time machine, to the mid-seventies when all this was fresh and had infinite possibilities.
Track List:Unknown Passage; Luminous; Stream Of Stars; Realm Of Spells; Drifting Shades; One Mind; Dark Halo; From Shadows; Silent Code.