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The trio simply called the Inbetweens delivers jazz-fusion of another color on this debut recording. Based in the northeast New York area, these musicians build a collage of styles from hard rock, free jazz, and various influences. Leader Mike Gamble is one the new breed of young guitarists who has the knowledge and skill to play in various techniques of jazz, rock, and other modes. His recent contribution on new jazz artist Pete Robbin’s Centric displayed proficient skill and memorable solos. While jazz is a definite influence, the Inbetweens have a musical alter ego all their own.
The musicians play with finesse as well as intensity. Gamble’s guitar wizardry is impressive with a style that brings to mind musicians from John Abercrombie to Dave Fiuczynski in terms of composition and freedom. A nice contrast of the trio compared to most fusion groups is the use of acoustic bass by Noah Jarrett. His jazz chops combined with a full sound, gives the music deepness and character while drummer Conor Elmes’ percussion work adds an array of sounds from his kit which creates depth to the trio’s sound.
Various styles on the recording give a glimpse into the trio’s musical mindset. The first selection, “Tension,” combines earthy tones with free expression. On “Yearsnew” the style is a mellow groove with each musician performing a delicate dance of timbres and tempos. “What If?” begins with a western motif that morphs into acid-rock guitar work by Gamble in the vein of Hendrix. For punk rockers young and old alike there’s “Lettuce Bread,” with its funky attitude mixed with outlandish vocals and guttural sounds. Things cool down nicely on “Indecision,” which features a dream-like tempo and some liquid guitar work by Gamble. The recording ends with “Inception” with strong percussion against a hypno-rock background. The Inbetween’s music could be classified as “jazz crossover fusion for the new millennium,” but what really matters is that the music is free and interesting, with the potential to appeal to a variety of music fans.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.