In July of 1969 Miles Davis recorded Bitches Brew which became the clarion call for a new type of music called fusion. In an attempt to mix the improvisation of Jazz with the raucous (and loud) rhythms of Rock, Davis, the Weather Report and other groups flung this musical marriage upon the public and other jazz musicians alike. Drummer Les DeMerle formed a group Transfusion and recorded this fusion album in 1976. Their excursion down the fusion road is done with more imagination and usually with better results than achieved by other groups which followed the same route.
The play list, composed and/or arranged by members of the group, manages to avoid the rhythmic rut many of those who succumbed to fusion fell into. One outstanding example is where DeMerle reshapes fusion on "Gypsy Rondo". This tune represents multiple merging of genre with Robby Robinson's piano kicking off in a classical vein with Joseph Haydn's music, then moves to straight ahead swing. all the time with DeMerle playing his rat a tat tat drums along side. They are joined by a synthesizer combined with some Barry Coats guitar before returning once more to Haydn. More than any other cut on the CD, this track will keep your attention and entertain you.
The individual members of the group are given lots of opportunity to show off their solo skills. Mark Hatch's trumpet moves out on "Kaballa". "Moon Dial", which comes close to pure Rock, features the throbbing saxophones of Bunk Gardner and Sam Riney. The album's opener "Canned Heat Suite" is just that, hot and waiting to be let loose which happens with a frenzied guitar solo by Barry Coats. Soap opera addicts will recognize Nadia's Theme from "The Young and the Restless".
If you yearn for those days when fusion ruled the world, then this previously unreleased album is for you.
The first record I bought was Miles Smiles. Having been a drummer since age two, hearing a young Tony Williams opened up so many possibilities for a 14 year old church drummer. My life changed that day and I've never looked back!