Anthony Jackson / Yiorgos Fanakas: Interspirit

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
He's performed with a seemingly countless array of artists—from Roberta Flack and Steely Dan to Chick Corea, John Scofield, and Steve Khan—but electric contrabassist Anthony Jackson, now approaching 60, is that rare consummate sideman who has never released an album as a leader/co-leader. Until now. Interspirit teams the inveterate bassist with Greek bassist Yiorgos Fakanas for an ambitious album of high power fusion and funk that may be bass heavy, but never loses sight of the larger musical perspective.

With Fakanas the composer of all but one of Interspirit's nine tracks— an expansive rework of Wayne Shorter's enduring "Footprints" is the sole exception—it's safe to assume that one thing stopping Jackson from leading dates in the past is that he's simply not a writer. He may not contribute compositionally to Interspirit, but his lithe dexterity is all over it; Jackson's acumen as a melodist and unfailing groove-meister has never been in question, but never has it been so consistently in the spotlight—though here, he seamlessly exchanges roles with Fakanas, no slouch of a bassist himself.

Fakanas has recruited a large cast, with a core group that also includes keyboardist Mitchel Forman (John McLaughlin, John Scofield, Gary Burton), drummer Dave Weckl (Corea, Khan, Mike Stern} and, on five tracks, fusion powerhouse guitarist Frank Gambale. So it will come as no surprise that the majority of Interspirit is filled with raucous energy and muscular soloing. But with a seven-piece horn section, five strings, and percussion, Fakanas has plenty of color on his palette, allowing him to deliver the fiery Latin pulse of "Caldera," with its vibrant horns, as easily as the more majestic "Cuore Vibes Part 1," which begins with a string quintet, leading into the funkier "Part 2," where Forman takes a piano solo that combines pure lyricism with unmistakable technique.

Taken at a frighteningly fast tempo, the knotty themes, shifting meters, and contrapuntal dervishes of the opening "Inner Power" set the bar high, along with high velocity solos from Gambale and Forman (on synth)—the latter supported by Jackson's visceral, in-the-gut long tones and unerring sense of placement. Rather than always playing together and cluttering the field, Jackson and Fakana alternate supporting the soloists, and after a couple of tracks, it becomes easy to differentiate the two, even without the benefit of liner notes that detail who is doing what, and when.

Jackson is credited with "bass melodies" throughout, though it's Fakanas who takes the lion's share of the solos. Fakanas' strength as a writer is finding ways to bring two virtuosic bassists together without ever getting in each other's way—and without falling into the unfortunate "look at me" of Marcus Miller's recent solo work. As much as it is about the playing, the exhilarating Interspirit is about the writing; bold and sweeping, it's fusion in the realm of Corea's The Leprechaun (Polydor, 1975), and is exhilaratingly recommended for fusion fans looking for some orchestration with their high octane soloing.

Track Listing: Inner Power; Footprints; Cuore Vibes Part 1; Cuore Vibes Part 2; Interspirit; Seviglia; Caldera; Ionio II; Parhelia.

Personnel: Anthony Jackson: contrabass guitar (1, 2, 4-9); Yiorgos Fakanas: bass guitar (1, 4-7, 9), fretless bass guitar (2, 4, 8); Frank Gambale: guitar (1, 5, 7, 9), acoustic guitar (6); Mitch Forman: keyboards (1, 2, 4-9), piano (4, 8); Dave Weckl: drums (1, 2, 4-9); Mihail Iosifov: trumpets (1, 4-7, 9); Manos Theodosakis: trumpets (1, 7); Antonis Andreou: trombones (1, 2, 4-9); Velislav Stoianov: trombones (1, 7); Takis Paterelis: alto saxophones (1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9), flute (2, 5), soprano saxophone (2, 8); Sam Marlierili: tenor saxophones (1); Todor Tzachev : baritone saxophone (1, 7); Odysseus Korelis: violin (3, 4, 6, 8); Franc Shestani: violin (3, 4, 6, 8); Elias Sdoukos: viola (3, 4, 6, 8); Vangjel Nina: cello (3, 4, 6, 8); Tasos Kazaglis: contra bass (3, 4, 6, 8); Tony Lakatos: tenor saxophone (4-7, 9); Enrique Bu: percussion (5-9).

Title: Interspirit | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Abstract Logix


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "# 1" CD/LP/Track Review # 1
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "Borrowed Time" CD/LP/Track Review Borrowed Time
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 15, 2017
Read "Desire & Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Perceive React" CD/LP/Track Review Perceive React
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 31, 2016
Read "The Company I Keep" CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read "Open Book" CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.