123

Tunnels: Painted Rock

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Painted Rock is the latest offering from the powerhouse fusion/jazz/prog band, “Tunnels” featuring midi vibraphonist Marc Wagnon, legendary fretless bass master Percy Jones, multi-talented guitarist Van Manakas and the superhuman-like drummer, Frank Katz. Here, the band serve up as to what may be viewed upon as a logical extension of their powerful freshman and recently reissued release, Tunnels with Percy Jones (see Jan’00 AAJ reviews).

The band commence the proceedings like a well-oiled machine on the title track, “Painted Rock” which is a straight up hard rocker and features a slightly ominous underlying theme. Here, vibraphonist Wagnon disperses bright colors via his thunderous lines and counterbalancing rhythmic work which sets the stage for Manakas’ fleet-fingered lead soloing as this piece is all about barn-burning rock alongside dazzling jazzy motifs. On the “Land of the Hazmats”, Manakas and Wagnon aim towards the stratosphere amid a few wittily conceived time signatures as the band seemingly prod the listener into snapping his or her fingers to the solid rhythms yet catch you off guard with spurts of modern jazz type improvisation. On occasion the band, or presumably either Manakas and/or Wagnon inject unearthly sounding synth backwashes or redevelop a concept through keen improvisation and an overall cunning thematic approach which is apparent throughout.

It’s not all about pyrotechnics as it just emanates rather naturally on such pieces as “House of Marc” where bassist nonpareil Percy Jones pursues inventive passages and performs as if the bass were an appendage of his physical being or Frank Katz’ massive polyrhythmic attack on “Neuro-Transmitter”. On this piece, the band proceed as a hybrid Prog-Metal band with leanings toward Frank Zappa and mainstream jazz via rapid unison lines, ferocious hard-edged guitar leads by Manakas coupled with a blazing swing/free jazz interlude. The musicians are in top improvisational form on the lengthy piece titled, “Bad American Dream 2001” complete with midi-synth effects, traces of jazz, avant-garde motifs supported by Jones’ pumping bass lines and Katz’ throttling drum work. We must add that “Tunnels” are not a band who convey overbearing or self-absorbing complexities. Many of these pieces are assembled around shapely or organized tempi and meter as they provide ample room for soloing opportunities yet not in a restrictive or austere sense. The band’s inviting diversities shine on the acoustic/electric piece “Boyz In The Ud” which features a migration of Western - Middle Eastern - North Indian motifs. Marc Wagnon performs an exhilarating solo on the no nonsense balls to the walls thriller, titled “Lilly’s Dolphin” as Frank Katz unleashes his power drumming fury on the adrenaline induced drum solo and closer, “Unity Gain”. At this juncture it is time for all parties to take a deep breath and unwind from this roller coaster ride of a journey as we regain our senses and take a stab at reality for a second or two. Painted Rock is an express train with no stops along the way as the music is pure, untainted and gets you to your destination in rapid fashion, yet the key ingredient here is the sustained and altogether gratifying entertainment value, featuring loads of impact! - (One of the top releases of the year) * * * * *

Personnel:

Marc Wagnon; Vibes: Percy Jones; Fretless Bass: Van Manakas; Guitar: Frank Katz; Drums

Visit the BuckyBall Records website: www.buckyballmusic.com and check out Allen Huotari

| Record Label: Bucky Ball Music | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "All The Dreams" CD/LP/Track Review All The Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 12, 2016
Read "Tiptoe" CD/LP/Track Review Tiptoe
by Jerome Wilson
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "Whirlwind" CD/LP/Track Review Whirlwind
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: May 24, 2016
Read "Sunrain" CD/LP/Track Review Sunrain
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 25, 2016
Read "Open The Curtains" CD/LP/Track Review Open The Curtains
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 16, 2016
Read "Nearness And You, Duets and Improvisations" CD/LP/Track Review Nearness And You, Duets and Improvisations
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 13, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET 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!

Buy it!