316

Jeff Richman & Friends: Live at the Baked Potato, Volume 1

Todd S. Jenkins By

Sign in to view read count
Jeff Richman & Friends: Live at the Baked Potato, Volume 1 Fusion’s finest come together to jam the night(s) away. In 1999, not long after Justin Randi (son of pianist/clubowner Don) opened the second Baked Potato in Hollywood, he and guitarist Jeff Richman discussed the idea of occasionally bringing some of the top names in contemporary jazz into the club to perform with Richman. That plan was soon inaugurated to favorable reviews, and many of the stellar shows were taped for posterity’s sake. Finally, those tapes are seeing the light of day thanks to the visionary Tone Center label.

This is the first of a projected duo of discs documenting Richman’s all-star ‘Tater jams, and what a head-spinning collection it is. The guitarist is the sole constant here, the other personnel shifting around him as necessary. Everyone has plenty of room to stretch out and wail; the shortest track is fully nine minutes. Two of Richman’s original compositions, “Ain’t Gonna Wait” and “Monkfish”, show his firm grounding in blues, funk and classic fusion sounds. The former is a brooding skulk through back alleys, with Dave Carpenter’s imposing bass lines growling and thumping amidst. The latter has a more traditional blues structure that recalls late-period Blue Note funk. Brandon Fields’ grippingly vibrant tenor holds forth on that tune, and his soprano floats cloudlike above Simon Phillips’ “Dreamscape”. Phillips shows just how firmly he can really swing a band on that warm waltz which closes the disc.

Richman is an excellent guitarist who deserves to be much better-known, and perhaps this disc might open some doors for him. He has the good taste to not be oppressively dominant, despite his hosting role, and when he steps forth for a solo he makes genuinely interesting statements. He has a fine sense of texture as well, as illustrated by his chorused shimmers, off-beat hammers, and short, sharp picking early in Peter Gabriel’s “Mercy Street”. On that track Vinnie Colaiuta keeps the beat elusive, giving the tune a suspended feel, while Abe Laboriel’s chorus-effected bass adds a fluid funk vibe. Laboriel plays it straighter on the outrageous syncopations of Marcus Miller’s “Splatch”, behind Peter Wolf’s almost Monkish piano. Richman manages a cool reflection of Miles Davis’ scattershot trumpet lines from the original recording (on Tutu ). Russell Ferrante plays comforting acoustic piano on “Seven Stars”, ably driven by Robert Hurst’s upright bass, Richman’s classic jazz tone, and Danny Gottlieb’s wispy drumming.

All in all, this disc is an exemplary document of the L.A. fusion scene, illustrating why the Baked Potato has long beentheplace to go for top-notch fusion. Outstanding. Volume 2 of the series is awaited with baited breath.

Track Listing: Mercy Street; Ain

Personnel: (Collective:) Jeff Richman (all tracks), guitars; Steve Tavaglione (#1), soprano sax; Brandon Fields (#3, 6), tenor sax; Abraham Laboriel (#1, 5), Dave Carpenter (#2), Jimmy Haslip (#3), Tom Kennedy (#6), electric bass; Robert Hurst (#4), acoustic bass; Mitchel Forman (#2), Peter Wolf (#5), Jeff Babko (#6), keyboards; Russell Ferrante (#4), piano; Vinnie Colaiuta (#1), Ralph Humphrey (#2), Chad Wackerman (#3), Danny Gottlieb (#4), Dave Weckl (#5), Simon Phillips (#6), drums.

| Record Label: Tone Center | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Shop

More Articles

Read United CD/LP/Track Review United
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Chromola CD/LP/Track Review Chromola
by John Eyles
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn CD/LP/Track Review Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Nature City CD/LP/Track Review Nature City
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 23, 2017
Read Beninghove's Hangmen Plays Led Zeppelin CD/LP/Track Review Beninghove's Hangmen Plays Led Zeppelin
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 23, 2017
Read This Is The Uplifting Part CD/LP/Track Review This Is The Uplifting Part
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 22, 2017
Read "Satori" CD/LP/Track Review Satori
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 1, 2016
Read "Flaga: Book of Angels, Volume 27" CD/LP/Track Review Flaga: Book of Angels, Volume 27
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 14, 2016
Read "B'shnorkestra: Global Concertos" CD/LP/Track Review B'shnorkestra: Global Concertos
by Paul Rauch
Published: October 27, 2016
Read "Louisiana Soul Revival featuring Doug Duffey" CD/LP/Track Review Louisiana Soul Revival featuring Doug Duffey
by James Nadal
Published: May 16, 2016
Read "Music Box Music" CD/LP/Track Review Music Box Music
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 8, 2017
Read "The Wild" CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Jerome Wilson
Published: March 15, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT 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!