Keyboardist Alan Pasqua has studied with pianists Jaki Byard and George Russell, and toured with artists as diverse as Stan Kenton to Tony Williams. Studio sessions with Eddie Money, Bob Dylan, Carlos Santana, Rick Springfield, Pat Benetar, Sammy Hagar and Whitesnake have also helped pay the bills. A versatile musician, Pasqua brings a highly melodic sensibility to the proceedings no matter the style or genre.
Pasqua's 1970s stint in Tony Williams' New Lifetime, alongside guitarist Allan Holdsworth, helped set the stage for this assertive effort. Heavily influenced by the fusion-era work of Miles Davis, The Antisocial Club blends In A Silent Way-inspired atmospherics with On The Corner-styled grooves.
A radical about-face from My New Old Friend, (Cryptogramophone, 2005), Pasqua's intimate acoustic piano trio session of primarily standard material, this session seethes with buzzing analog electronics and sputtering harsh edges fueled by fulminating vamps.
Alternating between liquid smooth grooves and raspy electronic outbursts, Pasqua and company update classic fusion clichés with ardent commentary and supple lyricism. "Prayer" and "Message To Beloved Souls Departed" represent Pasqua's introspective side, while the Jekyll and Hyde vacillation of the title track and the relentless metallic grind of "Fast Food" showcase a more aggressive aspect.
Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and saxophonist Jeff Ellwood make a robust frontline, each delivering pithy, circuitous statements on the title track. Pasqua ranges far and wide, delivering euphonious, percussive piano lines that alternate with terse, textural assaults on an overdriven Fender Rhodes.
Ubiquitous guitarist Nels Cline contributes wah-wah-fueled blast furnace pyrotechnics on "George Russell" and "Fast Food." "New Rhodes" and "Wicked Good" knit sinister stop-time pacing and roiling polyrhythmic energy to raucous communal expression.
The Antisocial Club is a high watermark in a growing number of records stylistically indebted to the Dark Prince's seminal electronic period. Although no new conceptual ground is broken, for fans of Miles Davis' late 1970s work, the groove is deep and the funk is nasty.
The Anti Social Club; George Russell; Prayer; New Rhodes; Fast Food; Wicked Good; Message to Beloved Souls Departed.
Alan Pasqua: keyboards, piano; Ambrose Akinmusire: trumpet; Jeff Ellwood: saxophones; Nels Cline: guitars; Jimmy Haslip: bass; Scott Amendola: drums; Alex Acu