Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

62

Bob Holz: VISIONS: Coast to Coast Connection

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Jazz fusion drummer Bob Holz and longtime friend, bassist extraordinaire Stanley Clarke (Return to Forever) record together for the first time, namely on two tracks, also featuring bassist Ralphe Armstrong (Mahavishnu Orchestra) and a stellar cast of East and West Coast musicians. Nonetheless, Holz doesn't reinvent the wheel here, but conveys a cheerful vibe via his solid compositions and buoyant arrangements that equate to a contemporary slant on jazz fusion. With that notion in mind, Holz and associates have not relegated their craft to easy listening smooth jazz. Essentially, the artists' muscular and spiraling solo spots backed by the leader's in-the-pocket grooves help elevate matters into gutsy and brash musical statements, periodically streamlined by memorable hooks and alternating currents.

The opening track "Split Decision," tenders a congenial theme with tasteful melodic passages offset by blaring horns and Billy Steinway's sweeping Hammond B-3 organ clusters. However, Clarke and Armstrong muster a dual bass attack on "Next in Line" and "Jammin Man," where the former's signature style comes to the forefront as he executes flickering notes across his fretboard along with fluid chord progressions and soulful single note runs. Moreover, Armstrong appears on most of these works and lays down a pliant undercurrent throughout. At times the ensemble enlivens a 1970s fusion vista with sonorous horn arrangements, snappy pulses and forceful soloing by trumpet great Randy Brecker (tracks 3 & 4) and other passages where the frontline trades fours, often leading to climactic opuses.

Holz and Armstrong provide strong foundations for the soloists with punchy cadences along with guitar heroics by Austrian guitar whiz Alex Machacek on "Light and Dark." But "Espresso Addiction," surfaces as a soulful, yet nondescript and perhaps obligatory vocal track sung by Dave Porter that lacks a significant primary theme. Otherwise, Frank Stepanek's Spanish acoustic guitar work on the aptly titled "Spanish Plains," rides above a medium- tempo rhythmic pattern and features his fancy fretwork along with some Wes Montgomery style jazz phrasings. Therefore, Holz's third album as a leader transfers his personal vision into a broadly entertaining sojourn, underscored with congenial qualities and a distinct game-plan.

Track Listing: Split Decision; Espresso Addiction; Next In Line; Jammin’ Man; Richie’s Trip; Pink Fur; West Coast Blues; Light & Dark; Spanish Plains; Flat Out.

Personnel: Bob Holz: drums; Stanley Clarke: bass (3, 4); Ralphe Armstrong: bass (3, 4, 6, 7, 10); Randy Brecker: trumpet (3, 4); Billy Steinway: keyboards; Alex Machacek: guitar (1, 8); Chet Catallo: guitar (10); Frank Stepanek: guitar, bass, keyboards; Dave Porter: vocals (2); Andrew Ford: bass (1, 2, 5, 7); Ada Rovatti: reeds (1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10); David Goldberg: reeds (1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10); Andrew Lippman: trombone: (1, 5, 6, 7); Louis Ludovic: trumpet (1, 5, 6, 7); Jeff Jarvis: trumpet (7, 10).

Title: VISIONS: Coast to Coast Connection | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Mvd Audio

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Bulería Brooklyniana Album Reviews
Bulería Brooklyniana
By Dan Bilawsky
January 23, 2019
Read At The Hill Of James Magee Album Reviews
At The Hill Of James Magee
By Mark Corroto
January 23, 2019
Read Stomping Off From Greenwood Album Reviews
Stomping Off From Greenwood
By Mike Jurkovic
January 23, 2019
Read Live: The Rites of Spring Festival 2018 Album Reviews
Live: The Rites of Spring Festival 2018
By Roger Weisman
January 23, 2019
Read Runner in the Rain Album Reviews
Runner in the Rain
By Jack Bowers
January 22, 2019
Read Driftglass Album Reviews
Driftglass
By Chris May
January 22, 2019
Read Pure Magic Album Reviews
Pure Magic
By Mark Sullivan
January 22, 2019