349

Mantra: IntotheOut

Todd S. Jenkins By

Sign in to view read count
Mantra: IntotheOut As might be gathered from the setlist, Mantra draws rich inspiration from the early fusion movement of the 1970s. Not your average hippy-trippy apes, the trio remain perhaps closer to the true spirit of the Miles Revolution than projects like Leo Smith’s Yo Miles! For all the sampling and wanna-be funk that has clogged the market lately, Mantra helps remind us of what the electric insurrection was all about.

Jimmy Smith proved decades ago that a band doesn’t need a bassist as long as the organist has competent feet. Yet in Miles Davis’ early electric groups, the bassist played the all-important role of unflagging anchor. (Ever count how many times Michael Henderson ran through the same dang ostinato on a quarter-hour jam?) The bass isn’t even missed here; Jon Ozment is fully up to snuff, blasting through pedal-less, neo-retro organ grooves that would do Larry Young proud while Mark Merella’s percussion fills in some low-end space. Ozment’s acid-drenched electric piano melts into Chuck Underwood’s guitar wah on the Davis-penned opener, “Fast Track,” and Merella’s layers firm up the foundation. Joe Zawinul is a key influence, and the keyboardist’s own “Dr. Honoris Causa” gets a fuzzy, funky workout. The third classic, Wayne Shorter’s “Mysterious Traveller,” is of necessity pared down from the larger-than-life Weather Report sound, but Underwood makes a servicable substitute for the vehement saxman.

The remaining selections are originals by the band members. Ozment’s “Pixels” begins as a breakneck outlet for his acoustic piano (presumably played on the synth since no real piano is credited), more in the spirit of Shorter’s pre-electric compositions for Davis’ quintet. Later on he moves to the organ to kick up the heat. “Blue” is a brooding, edge-of-seat wash of tension. The other tracks are free-form jams, faithful to the once-maligned, now-embraced Davis canon. “Zone Nomo” is the furthest out, with Underwood recalling some of Henry Kaiser’s experiments. Merella makes excellent use of space at times, leaving wide gaps for the others to fill in with glowing textures. A most enjoyable experience for Ur-fusion aficionados and chops-hounds.

Visit Mantra Jazz .


Track Listing: Fast Track; Pixels; Dr. Honoris Causa; The Edge; Mysterious Traveler; Zone Nomo; Blue; Triptych.

Personnel: Jon Ozment, electric piano, organ, synthesizer; Chuck Underwood, guitar, loops; Mark Merella, drums, percussion.

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Red Door | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "The Long Road" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Road
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 30, 2016
Read "And the Rhythm Serenaders" CD/LP/Track Review And the Rhythm Serenaders
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 22, 2016
Read "Abeng" CD/LP/Track Review Abeng
by Dave Wayne
Published: April 19, 2016
Read "Cool" CD/LP/Track Review Cool
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: November 21, 2016
Read "Two Of A Kind" CD/LP/Track Review Two Of A Kind
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 30, 2016
Read "ReNew" CD/LP/Track Review ReNew
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 11, 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!