Guitarist Scott Henderson is one of a select few artists who raised jazz fusion from the embers in the 80s, namely with the band, Tribal Tech. Indeed, this unit proffered a much needed uplift via a far-reaching perspective and armed with a torrential improvisational credo on numerous fronts. Since then, the guitarist has performed with other high-flying units but as a solo artist, he often kicks out the jazz rock, fusion and blues rock jams within the power trio format. Henderson's searing wizardry is vividly perceptible on Vibe Station, as he often converses with himself by modulating distortion-based tones on his electric guitar and by creating a polychromatic aural feast with variable currents and intensity levels.
Henderson wreaks havoc on his guitar amid howling bottleneck notes, multihued chord voicings and ungodly hype-mode licks atop the rhythm section's slamming grooves and agile progressions. He often harmonizes with bassist Travis Carlton and during a variety of movements the trio summons an Armageddon with supple and heightening choruses within the prog-metal domain.
The title track "Vibe Station," is centered on jazz and funk motifs, countered by the leader's gravelly phrasings, blazing runs and shock-therapy type cadenzas. Henderson uses an electric sitar or perhaps some electronics-based sampling process on the humming and buzzing jazz fusion fest "Manic Carpet," abetted by his fervent call and response dialogue with drummer Alan Hertz during the bridge. And the jazz influences resurface with a Thelonious Monk-like primary theme and prickly bop lines on "The Covered Head," as the band surges into a lofty and tempestuous improv segment, revved up by Henderson's caustic shadings, weeping breakouts and supersonic single note riffs.
"Dew Wot?" is another piece where the tide shifts and momentum builds upon a twirling and shuffling cadence, seguing into a hot n' nasty blues rock foray, contrasted with knotty time signatures, used as a passageway into an interminable abyss. Ultimately, Vibe Station should be deemed essential listening for Henderson's legion of admirers, along with curious students and others not thoroughly acquainted with his formidable legacy.
Track Listing: Church of Xotic Dance; Sphinx; Vibe Station; Manic Carpet; Calhoun;
The Covered Head; Festival of Ghosts; Dew Wot?; Chelsea Bridge.
Personnel: Scott Henderson: guitar; Travis Carlton: bass; Alan Hertz: drums.
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