This is the debut album and brainchild of leader, pianist and composer Greg Spero, an undeniably gifted pianist and composer who has been mentored by fellow keyboardists and Miles Davis alumni Robert Irving III and Herbie Hancock. The musicians Spero assembled for his project amount to a veritable supergroup in terms of their prodigious talent. The repertoire of Spirit Fingers is clearly informed by the likes of Chick Corea's Return to Forever and John McLaughlin's later worksnot coincidentally, since bassist Hadrien Feraud played on McLaughlin's albums Industrial Zen (Verve, 2006) and Floating Point (Abstract Logix, 2008). There are other elements here too, such as serialism, as conceived by the likes of Philip Glass. Tracks like "Movement" and "Location" veer towards this genre, where Spero's compositions betray a tendency towards repeated piano figures.
Another key trait of Spero's compositions is revealed with the opening number, "Inside," in which polyrhythms abound, the piano and drums wildly crossing tempos. Incidentally, the former name of the band was actually Polyrhythmic, a somewhat jejune moniker, which might explain why they chose to change it. On "Maps" Dario Chiazzolino's mellow-toned guitar solo combines speed, dexterity and an expertly restrained subtlety, steering clear of well-worn jazz-rock cliches. Feraud contributes breathtakingly dextrous solos throughout, but particularly on "For," "Find" and "You," the latter track being immersed in funk-laden grooves with the bassist's playing speed ranking alongside that of Jaco Pastorius.
The short, delicate "Space," features a duet between Chiazzolino and Spero and is classical in feel, noticeably at odds with the following dramatically-fragmented tune "Release" which spits out a kaleidoscope of sonic colours, not least from Mike Mitchell's powerful staccato drumming. All the tracks on the album, with their emblematic mantra-like single word titles, seem to meld seamlessly into one another and this characteristic mirrors the near-telepathic cohesion of this quartet. Imbued with preternatural levels of skill and a high replay value, this is one album where the much hackneyed term "fusion" seems an absolutely appropriate term.
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