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“Tribal Tech” is a band that have almost single-handedly revived fusion from the sunken depths of obscurity while consistently reinventing their group sound and approach for over ten years now. Here the musicians enter the studio without any preconceived notions or rigid game plans yet have produced one of their finest efforts in years, titled Rocket Science.
Complete with tongue-in-cheek CD cover art depicting a female in a bathing suit riding what appears to be a tin rocket (phallic symbol), the musicians soar skyward amid a signature style consisting of brazen soloing, impacting rhythms and altogether stunning ensemble work. On the opener, “Saturn 5”, the band produces computer generated space noises along with voices of perhaps NASA control engineers atop Gary Willis’ thumping bass lines, guitarist Scott Henderson’s blistering leads, Scott Kinsey’s layered keys and Kirk Covington’s multipurpose, polyrhythmic battering of his drum kit. Hence, the music sticks and represents a good deal more than rampant chops fests and egotistical bravado as this aggregation offers more twists, turns, peaks and valleys than a circuitous mountain pass.
The band playfully incorporates synth based Sci-Fi EFX into their repertoire in conjunction with Henderson’s’ frenzied, sinewy leads and Kinsey’s cool, sleek keyboard work on the abstract rock/boogie and title track, “Rocket Science”. - They render climactic opuses above a punishing straight four pulse and Henderson’s Hendrix-like exhibition consisting of piercing motifs, diminutive choruses and emphatically placed notes on “Moonshine”. However, the quartet pays homage to William Shatner with a groove based and loosely swinging blues induced motif on “Cap’n Kirk”.
Essentially, Rocket Science showcases this unit at their very best as there are few outfits on the globe who can match “Tribal Tech” for sheer intensity, skillful soloing and shrewdly concocted themes that often ingrain an indelible impression on one’s psyche!
Track Listing: Saturn 5, Astro Chimp, Song Holy Hall, Rocket Science, Sojlevska, Mini Me, Space Camel, Moonshine, Cap
Personnel: Scott Henderson; guitar: Gary Willis; bass: Scott Kinsey; keyboards: Kirk Covington; drums
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.