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GHS: The Best of GHS

Woodrow Wilkins By

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GHS is almost like listening to The Police without a human voice. The letters are the initials guitarist Frank Gambale, bassist Stuart Hamm, and drummer Steve Smith.

GHS is the anti-smooth ensemble from Tone Center Records. Their intent was to represent music fans who wanted more improvisation and more interaction among the players. Gambale spent several years with the Chick Corea Elektric Band as well as Smith's outfit, Vital Information. Hamm and Smith worked together on some of the bassist's solo outings. The Best of GHS is a compilation of some of their finest work as a trio.

"Sink" is a cool, bluesy piece. With Gambale in lead, it has a sassy strut feel. Gambale employs a slight dissonance, similar to the way Mike Stern plays. Throughout the piece, Hamm and Smith are in a groove, the latter making effective use of his array of cymbals, along with snare rolls and tom strikes.

Each player takes a turn in a one-man performance. The first is Smith with "Spirit of Dun Dun," a two-and-a-half-minute piece that sounds like a tribal ceremony piece. The toms get a tremendous workout. Hamm has "Nostalgia," and Gambale offers "Isle of Few."

"Katahdin," named for a mountain in Maine, is a high-speed musical journey. The energy is strong as Gambale engages in some finger-blistering phrases. Hamm and Smith keep up with him, at times making it easy to forget there are only three musicians. Even during Gambale's quiet middle passage, Smith and Hamm continue their frenetic pace in the background.

The Best of GHS culls from the trio's previous releases, Show Me What You Can Do, The Light Beyond, and GHS3. The music is rock with a jazz attitude.

Track Listing: Bad Intent; Dangerous Curves; Sink; Spirit of Dun Dun (drum solo); Katahdin; Yang; Nostalgia (bass solo); The Throne of Savitar; Isle of Few (guitar solo); All in Your Head; Geo 100; The Challenger.

Personnel: Frank Gambale: electric and acoustic guitars; Stu Hamm: bass; Steve Smith: drums.

Title: The Best of GHS | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Tone Center

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