This crackling debut from Teymur Phell is a hearty, eclectic and loud funk-fusion party. He sets the tone right away with "Zero to Sixty"a title that's actually a bit misleading since it kicks off already at sixty mphand shows that he knows his way around a bass, and also has plenty of use for one with six strings, thank you very much. This jaunt as leader follows years of live and session work; he has clearly taken a lot away from his time supporting such names as Randy Brecker, Arturo Sandoval or Mike Stern (who adds an extra shot of electricity here), and is happy to build on that experience to excellent effect.
Refreshingly, after that blistering opener, Phell is equally willing to scale back the fireworks and serve the groove when that's best. The crew on Master Volume is as sharp and slick as the all-original songs, wailing through rock-ish jams and jazzy swing alike. One highlight, "Worth the Wait," harks back to Weather Report's catchiest point circa Heavy Weather (Columbia, 1976), while a couple of dreamier moments lean on saxophone and keys without any unduly excessive smoothness.
Even the closing piano-led jaunt of "Blues for Who?" sounds too cheerful to be hinting at any blues. Phell's tireless New York City attitude is as fiercely hard-hitting and upbeat as his low-end work throughout. It's an apt close to a relentlessly bright and colorful affair. This party is the kind which screams big city and bright lightsthe kind that isn't worried about waking up the neighbors because they aren't going to bed until the night's mostly gone either.
Zero to Sixty; Papano Kimono; Old Window; Master Volume; Worth the Wait; Unfinished Business;
Hayvanhana; Sweet Sweep; Chances Are; Blues for Who?.