Simon Phillips: Protocol 3

Glenn Astarita By

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This is the 3rd installment of all-universe drummer Simon Phillips' (The Who, Toto, Hiromi...) Protocol band. And he imparts a commanding presence via lyrically charged fills and mesmeric polyrhythmic flurries amid the resonating output from his large rock kit. Akin to the previous albums, the quartet intertwines jazz fusion, jazz rock and progressive rock into a unified entity, backed by tuneful hooks and the musicians' tightknit interactions. Moreover, keyboardist Steve Weingart and guitarist Andy Timmons infuse an array of multihued tonal treatments, adding to the overall ambience and dynamic of the program.

The guitarist's reverberating extended notes and judicious use of distortion techniques also contain searching attributes along with his scorching solo endeavors. Tabla performer Singh Rangotra incorporates East Indian percussive methodologies on the opening track "Narmada." However, on "Imaginary Ways" Timmons and bassist Ernest Tibbs trigger a foot-stomping medium-tempo hard rock vamp, where Phillips peppers the band with alternating solo breaks. And "Outlaw" is nestled within a rather ominous progressive blues rock vein, leading to "Catalyst," which sounds like a nod to classic Mahavishnu Orchestra as Timmons and Weingart (synths) trade fours in ascending fashion atop an odd-metered and energized pulse. At various times, the band enacts the sounds of the 70s jazz fusion era.

"Circle Seven" is primarily staged by Weingart's breezy, jazz-based Fender Rhodes solo spree as the rhythm section pumps it up, contrasting an affable gait and Phillips' thorny rhythmic maneuvers. Taken as a whole, the band's calling card is fabricated by the convergence of finesse and eloquence with agile frameworks and bone-battering licks.

Track Listing: Narmada; Imaginary Ways; Outlaw; Catalyst; Amrita; Circle Seven; You Can't But You Can; Undercover.

Personnel: Simon Phillips: drums; Andy Timmons: guitars; Ernest Tibbs: electric bass; Steve Weingart: Rhodes, keyboards; Satnam Singh Rangotra: tablas (1).

Title: Protocol 3 | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Phantom Recordings

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