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Guitarist Andre’ Bush, a resident of San Francisco’s Bay Area which in itself is a melting pot for artistic creativity, follows up his acclaimed 1996 outing “Darwin’s Waiting Room” with 1998’s “Invisible City”. Here, Bush gets fine support from super drummer Steve Smith and the legendary post-Trane Saxophonist Dave Liebman. Pianist Jack Perla (Winner of the 1997 BMI/Thelonius Monk Composers Award) also shows his skillful wares throughout this project while the entire cast is in top form including Paul Hanson’s intriguing Jazz Bassoon performances.
The opening track, Bush’ “Odd Culture, This..” is bouncy, hard hitting and linear in scope. Bush’ clear toned electric lead Guitar work is enticing and imaginative while Saxophonist’s Dave Liebman and Michael Zilber lash out with spirited choruses above Steve Smith’s commanding presence behind the Kit. Bush’ “Past and Future Warriors” finds the Guitarist toggling between distorted fuzz gyrations and huge wide open Jazz chords which evokes thoughts of the great Jim Hall. Here, the rhythm section of Derek Jones (b) and Drummer Steve Smith prod and push the soloists as the chemistry jibes well among the band. “Past and Future Warriors” is slightly in-your-face yet maintains a genial attitude while Smith’s coordinated and intense Drum solo serves as the coda. Bush’ “Soulmates” is an affectionate ballad featuring Bush’ light, atmospheric Guitar as he makes every note count with subtle nuance and heartfelt sentiment. The highlight of this recording is Jack Perla’s composition and title track “Invisible City”. Clocking in at 15 minutes, Pianist Perla commences with bright melodic clusters as Bush’ states the theme with gorgeous and fleet fingered phrasing while Bassoonist Paul Hanson paints a vivid picture with some startling Jazz licks over the odd-metered backbeat. The Bassoon is an unlikely candidate for Jazz improvisation yet Hanson pulls it off naturally while adding color and depth to the many twists and turns throughout this composition. Perla picks up the pace mid way with some blistering swing induced Piano as Bush churns out a an expressive solo utilizing volume control techniques. On the title track Bush turns up the juice a few notches while displaying versatile and adept chops. Saxophonist Michael Zilber’s “Stations” is a straight-ahead rocker as Bush cranks out some mock-1970’s Psychedelic hard core Guitar work, which may rekindle memories of Jefferson Airplane or Big Brother and The Holding Co. While far from the best track on the CD, Zilber and Bush trade some pretty cool licks; however, Bush’ forte may be his articulate penchant for painting tonal colors. Bush’ “...And Slowly Fall Away” is another fine example of Paul Hanson’s wonderful Bassoon work. Here, Bush and Hanson partake in some delicate phrasing while Drummer Alan Hall provides some effective snare drum work, as if he were playing a Tango.
“Invisible City” takes the listener on an enjoyable and affable ride. Bush is a fine young Guitarist who should only improve as time rolls by. One of the main positives on this recording is that Bush does not hog the spotlight. Everyone contributes mightily; therefore. Andre’ Bush displays mature characteristics with his predilections for attaining a “group-feel” as opposed to falling in the proverbial trap of being overly dominant. Bush’ solos are for the most part elegant, warm and assertive. “Invisible City” shows great depth in composition and tonal color. Andre’ Bush should enjoy a promising future as a fine Guitarist and superb tunesmith. Recommended.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.