200

David Fiuczynski: Jazz Punk

David Adler By

Sign in to view read count
David "Fuze" Fiuczynski, an accomplished sideman and bandleader, is not a jazz musician in any ordinary sense. He’s a distortion-heavy shredder, a string bender, a master of fractured, dissonant guitar pyrotechnics. Yet he’s got the sensibilities, and the résumé, of a jazzman. JazzPunk, his first solo release, almost entirely consists of non-original material drawn from a short list of his idols and/or past and present employers. It’s a hyper-eclectic menu: Metheny, Hendrix, Chopin, Ronald Shannon Jackson, George Russell, Chick Corea, Strayhorn/Ellington, Sousa, and Jack Walrath. Somehow it all comes out sounding like David Fiuczynski music, which really says something about the strength of this musical personality.

"Fuze" and his colleagues are at their best when laying down the funk. But their funk is multifarious, not the same old groove over and over. Shannon Jackson’s "Red Warrior" is one species — hats off to Gene Lake’s hell-raising drums and Daniel Sadownick’s percussion. George Russell’s "African Game Fragment" and the collectively composed "Jungle Gym Jam" represent another species, one with pronounced references to tripped-out electronica. Chick’s "La Fiesta," in addition, features some of the hottest playing on the date.

The album’s funniest moment is "Stars & Stripes Whenever," a vaguely subversive reading of Sousa’s patriotic march and perhaps a twenty-first century update of Hendrix’s "Star-Spangled Banner." On the tender side, well, "Star-Crossed Lovers" is as tender as it gets. Fuze gives even Strayhorn and Ellington the whammy treatment, making the melody sound like an old, warped record. The chord changes are dead-on accurate, however, and as the track plays on, it becomes clear that Johnny Hodges’s bent-and-slurred approach to melody, while more elegant in the traditional sense of the word, is the inspiration for Fuze’s wobbly deconstruction.

A few things distinguish Fuze from the rest of today’s guitar crowd. His sound is consistently dry — devoid of reverb and delay — which is highly unusual for electric players coming up in the wake of Mike Stern and Pat Metheny. His intermittent use of fretless guitar also sets him apart, enabling him to phrase in ways that are otherwise impossible. Fiuczynski’s mix of formidable musicianship and off-the-wall mischief brings to mind another musician/guitarist, the late Frank Zappa, whose work often felt like one long gag. At times Fiuczynski’s work feels that way too — long on playfulness, short on emotional depth. One gets the sense that if he were to just cool out, even for a minute or two, he’d open the door to a more expansive range of moods.

Cyberhome: www.torsos.com

Tracks: 1. Bright Size Life 2. Third Stone from the Sun 3. Prelude Opus 28, No. 4 4. Red Warrior 5. African Game Fragment 6. La Fiesta 7. Star-Crossed Lovers 8. Jungle Gym Jam 9. Stars & Stripes Whenever 10. Hipgnosis.

Personnel: David Fiuczynski, fretted and fretless guitars, arrangements; Fima Ephron, bass (2, 4, 6); Tim Lefebvre, bass (1, 5, 8); Santi Debriano, bass (7, 9); Gene Lake, drums (2, 4, 6); Zach Danziger, drums (1, 5, 8); Billy Hart, drums (3, 7, 9, 10); Daniel Sadownick, percussion (2, 4, 6); Rufus Cappadocia, cello (10).

| Record Label: FuzeLicious Morsels | Style: Funk/Groove


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Undertaker Please Drive Slow" CD/LP/Track Review Undertaker Please Drive Slow
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 15, 2017
Read "Meets Batida" CD/LP/Track Review Meets Batida
by James Nadal
Published: March 15, 2016
Read "The Whole World Must Change" CD/LP/Track Review The Whole World Must Change
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 13, 2016
Read "Right to Love" CD/LP/Track Review Right to Love
by Jim Olin
Published: June 19, 2016
Read "Unlimited 1, Live at Catalina's" CD/LP/Track Review Unlimited 1, Live at Catalina's
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 22, 2016
Read "Münster Bern" CD/LP/Track Review Münster Bern
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

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!