Jazz-rock gets a college education with this ensemble’s third release. The trio receives some bonus coverage thanks to modern jazz violinist Mark Feldman and “Brand X,” guitarist John Goodsall’s inspiring performances. In fact, the now legendary “Brand X” aggregation features the members of “Tunnels:” Percy Jones (bass), Marc Wagnon (midi vibes) and Frank Katz (drums). Hence, the musicians maintain an ongoing working relationshipmuch to our delight.
The group dishes out a program consisting of polytonal sound shaping episodes, asymmetrically inclined angles, and variegated perspectives. Wagnon utilizes samples, synths, and his midi vibes to provide a scenario that hints at a virtual front line soloing section. On “Syzygy Incident,” he injects clavichord samples and tainted B-3 organ treatments atop Jones and Katz’ pumping rhythms and well-timed unison choruses. But this is just a tease, mind you. Because Goodsall and Feldman go toe to toe on the following piece titled, “Wall To Wall,” as the violinist renders lavishly stated lines in concert with the guitarist’s rapid-fire single note leads. Nonetheless, the soloists’ dutifully up the ante on several occasions.
The musicians’ artistry continues during the twenty-minute burner, “7,584,333,440 Miles Away,” as they pursue a series of mini themes amid polyrhythmic flurries and a blitzing line of attack. In addition, Goodsall’s machine gun like progressions and the band’s rendering of forbidden dreamscapes culminate with a tuneful jazz-based vibe. Feldman returns during “High Tea at 49th and 10th” – where Katz and Jones go beyond the call of duty via a tumultuously reverberating hybrid swing/rock groove. Here, the rhythm section operates on all cylinders in support of Wagnon’s understated midi vibe soloing.
Progressivity transcends any preconceived notions of fusion and jazz-rock, as the band’s holistic viewpoint signifies an all-embracing sound and style. Consequently, this one should not be overlooked! (Strongly recommended)