Saturday, September 12, 2015

Frank Gambale, Stu Hamm & Steve Smith - 1998 "Show Me What You Can Do"

Gambale and the gang tear it up! Stu Hamm is Levinesque-thundering, Stanley Clarke-kicking bass. Vital Information's Steve Smith's drumming keeps right up when it gets wild and hold things together during spacy chordal splurges. These pros got pumped watching old Mahavishnu Orchestra videos and cranked up the old fusion fires. Gambale surprised me on this one. So many of his other releases exhibit more of that bouncy jazz with clean, fast, sweep picking and an obvious structured disciplined approach. This album shows he can get mean, edgy, overdriven, and raw, and be a downright awesome riff monster. Hamm is an earthquake, Smith a splinter-slingin' tornado.
I heard McLaughlin's odd modes and moods clearly influencing "The Promise" and "Dangerous Curves." Tasteful harp-plucked chord progressions build in a Summers/Metheny/Holdsworth meshwork. Everyone gets space to stretch on "Beyond The Bridge" and "Sink." Hamm goes bassman crazy on "Wrong and Strong." Watch out Manring. On "Astral Traveler," Gambale does the Eric Johnson/Satriani dance, throws in a dose of his own machine gun bullet notes in a Scott Hendersonian bluesy-rock raunch, and deftly so at full throttle. "Tanya's Touch" sets you soul-travelin' the rain-slick, empty streets, wandering thru whispering snows, and then over the earth's glowing, blue-fired atmosphere. Find out for yourself what other nice surprises await you here. Pick this one up for end-of-the-millenium fusion finesse. Highly recommended.

 In a showcase of intelligent hard-fusion, guitarist Frank Gambale, bassist Stuart Hamm and drummer Steve Smith blowtorch a razor sharp trail through their first recorded outing as a trio, Show Me What You Can Do (Tone Center TC 40012; 57:42). Fans of tightly wound fusion timing and flights of improvisation will enjoy the trio's tight showmanship on tracks like album opener "Bad Intent"-a rollicking hard-slap piece colored with Gambale's harmonic splashes, and "Dangerous Curves," which finds revolutions of guitar accentuating ticking rhythms before bursting wide open. The guys hit their marks and changes with astounding accuracy, especially considering that the album was recorded in only nine days. "Astral Traveler" moves effortlessly and artfully from a whisper to a squeal, soaring on whammy-bar vibrations, and "The Promise" builds on a fuzzy electric refrain, changing its timing dramatically as Gambale's guitar sobs in searing rock tones. Most illustrative of the band's easy give-and-take is "Sink," a loping, off-beat tune which finds all three instruments moving in unique counterpoint to one another, yet fitting together like a tightly constructed jigsaw puzzle.

What happens when you throw three virtuosos together in a room and tell them to create something that showcases their abilities and is also interesting to listen to? Tone Center Records found out when they commissioned the fiery Aussie guitarist Frank Gambale, bass monster Stuart Hamm and drum god Steve Smith for the self-explanatory SHOW ME WHAT YOU CAN DO. The result is a power trio album of tremendous strength and envelope-pushing musical madness.

From the thunderous opening of "Bad Intent," it's obvious these boys didn't waste time getting to the good stuff. The testosterone is flowing heavily into the driving groove of "The Promise" as Gambale's piercing guitar surfs over Smith and Hamm's relentless pounding. Later, things take a on somewhat lighter shade on the slinky "Sink," until a powerful drum intro by Smith leads into a driving chops-fest known as "Wrong And Strong." Downshifting into low gear, the expressive "Tanya's Touch" is proof that these guys aren't just about technical facility. Finally, the trio pulls off a lightning fast swing pace on "Lydia's Love Van." Warning: take your vitamins for this one. Only the strong will survive!
Track Listings

1. Bad Intent
2. The Promise
3. Dangerous Curves
4. Beyond The Bridge
5. Sink
6. Wrong And Strong
7. Astral Traveler
8. Tanya's Touch
9. Lydia's Love Van


Frank Gambale (guitar);
Stuart Hamm (bass);
Steve Smith (drums).



  2. Thanks, Crimhead420. Gonna get this and enjoy, Hans

  3. request !...can you post the others from them, please ? ...very welcome Upgrade....
    Big THX !....