There is ample energy and enthusiasm on Michigan-based guitarist Lee Heerspink's debut recording, Monsters' Impromptu, which consists of seven of the leader's funk/fusion-based compositions performed by an admirable quintet whose members are clearly in sync with Heerspink's assertive point of view, and lend him their unflagging support.
Six of the seven compositions are bright, buoyant anthems in the time-tested guitar and organ tradition. The exception is the ballad "Rinse Cycle," on which Heerspink shows his sentimental side, complementing ardent solos by Caleb Elzinga on tenor sax and Dutcher Snedeker on Fender Rhodes. The blues slips in the door on "What Happens in the Woods," a mid-tempo groover on which Heerspink, Elzinga and organist Jim Alfredson share solo space. The riff-based finale, "Preach It Gary," has a bit of a church-cum-barnyard feel as Heerspink, Alfredson and drummer Randy Marsh dig in hard and the ensemble pulls out whatever stops are left.
The gritty opener, "Let It Simmer," sets the tone, with Heerspink's twangy guitar pointing the way toward the funky rhythm and Snedeker (or perhaps Alfredson) adding some aberrant sound effects before Marsh lends his weight and the ensemble wraps it up. "Stumble Bumble" and "See You Soon" offer more of the same, albeit at slightly more moderate tempos, and "Stumble" adds a dash of the standard "Pick Yourself Up" preceding and following crisp solos by Heerspink and Alfredson. "See You Soon" has a happy calypso feel, underlined by pianist Snedeker, Elzinga and Alfredson.
Listeners whose bag is funk/fusion should find plenty to admire in Monsters' Impromptu, a splendid debut by Lee Heerspink and his talented teammates.
Let It Simmer; Stumble Bumble; Monsters’ Impromptu; Rinse Cycle; See You Soon; What
Happens in the Woods; Preach It Gary.