Friday, October 23, 2015

Art 'Spike' Schloemer - 2011 "Transfusion"

Art 'Spike' Schloemer is one of the few musicians who was "born 2 groove".

He began his piano studies at the age of six and starting performing professionally throughout Europe after graduating from Conservatory of Music.

During his productive career as a pianist, composer, bandleader and educator, Art has performed in many different settings and styles. His versatile approach has allowed him to erase the artificial boundary line between contemporary jazz, rock, electro-funk and world, sounding like himself in all idioms.

His playing, like his compositions... ranges across panoramas of mood and emotion, all colored with the freedom that comes from possessing remarkable facility.

His solo album, "TransFUSION," features an all-star roster of guest musicians including Scott Henderson, Dennis Chambers, Kirk Covington, Bunny Brunel, Hadrien Feraud and Bob Franceschini.

Like his idol, the late Joe Zawinul, keyboardist Art 'Spike' Schloemer seeks to erase whatever perceived lines lie between jazz, rock, funk and world music. On his new TransFUSION CD, Schloemer arrives well- armed for the task by enlisting some of jazz/fusion's top open-minded artists: guitarist Scott Henderson, saxophonist Bob Franceschini, bassists Bunny Brunel and Hadrien Feraud, and drummers Dennis Chambers and Kirk Covington.

The opening track, "Concussion," shows additional Schloemer influences from the classic fusion era of the '70s. The piece's epic theme, and Feraud's nimble bass line, echo the work of Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke in Return To Forever.

Brunel guests on the subsequent "Space Flight," and his liquid tone and soloing guide Schloemer's synthesizer into the soaring stratosphere of Weather Report, Zawinul's primary vessel during his stellar career. Chambers' contribution is on "Distant Horizon," another far-reaching Weather Report revisit because of his shell-game with the time signature and Schloemer's darting electric piano.

Henderson worked in Zawinul's post-Weather Report group the Zawinul Syndicate, and the guitarist's prodigious firepower burns throughout "Challenge Day." Built on another epic theme by Schloemer, the energetic track is akin to Henderson's '90s work in the band Tribal Tech (which also featured a Zawinul-influenced keyboardist in Scott Kinsey).

Covington, Tribal Tech's drummer, guests on the closing "Keep Relaxed". A high-octane funk number that belies its title, the cut gets extra fuel through the drummer's signature hummingbird-like fills. Franceschini, best-known for his work in guitarist Mike Stern's group, makes a statement through his solo on "Brain Fever," another Schloemer composition that blends jazz technique with rock intensity.

The guest stars may be the drawing card on TransFUSION, but the guest-free tracks are no less alluring. "Sentimental Journey" sounds like a trip through Zawinul's entire career through its acoustic piano, programming, and chanted vocals.

"Good Times" is a Motown-inspired funk vehicle that could've been an alternate theme to the urban '70s sitcom of the same name; "Indie Dance" manages to blend Middle Eastern and be-bop feels, and the entrancing "For Joe" is Schloemer's ode to his late mentor.

Aside from the work of his special guests, Schloemer is responsible for the entirety of TransFUSION, making the disc an otherwise incredible singular achievement. Through his compositions, arrangements, multi-instrumental playing and programming, the keyboardist always manages to sound like he's looking forward -- even as he reaches backward for inspiration.

Analyzing the album - the construction of the arrangements, the freshness of material, the sounds of the tunes, the power and the intensity of playing the tracks, the rhythmically intense feel - it has an immensely individual touch.

Reading the feedback from other artists it seems they think the same way:

“Great music man… The musicians are killin'!!!...”
Lenny White

"Art, my hat off to you. Incredible Music, I hope we can play one day together and make music, palante! (forward) always."
Walfredo Reyes Jr.

“Congratulations, Spike!
... I'm looking forward to hearing some great music from you, bro!”
Marcus Miller

"…your Music has "Ignited a New Feeling/ Anticipation" within me!"
Charles Marvray

"I'm really, really enjoying your music. Its very interesting in your compositions and your construction/choice of sounds, and simply the wonderful performance!Burning! Very happening!"
Steve Weingart

“Man I just listened to two of your tracks and seriously dug it. Great stuff.”
Mike Clark

Highly recommended CD from “groove” keyboardist Art 'Spike' Schloemer. “Spike” has assembled an incredible all-star roster of guest fusion musicians including guitarist, Scott Henderson, bassists Bunny Brunel & Hadrien Feraud, drummers Dennis Chambers & Kirk Covington & Bob Franeschini on sax.

"Throughout the entire disc Schloemer proves himself a more than capable composer of electric jazz at the highest level, and as a soloist he establishes himself as a thoughtful and exciting technician. Schloemer's incredibly nimble fingers fly throughout the recording, and he puts them to good use in this collection of high powered, highly percussive fusion. For those who thought great electric jazz, or tightly constructed progressive rock of the 1970s and 80s was gone forever, this disc will restore your soul."

- Thomas R. Erdmann -

"Aside from the work of his special guests, Schloemer is responsible for the entirety of TransFUSION, making the disc an otherwise incredible singular achievement. Through his compositions, arrangements, multi-instrumental playing and programming, the keyboardist always manages to sound like he's looking forward -- even as he reaches backward for inspiration."

- Bill Meredith -

This album is the fruit of two years of hard work. Spike put tremendous effort into writing and arranging the music. The intention was to create a fresh, unique album with his own style, mixing jazz-rock with some world and trance touch. His goal was not to create something only for jazz-rock fusion fans, but also for everyday customers of groove-music.

The CD was fourth on Amazon's Best Seller Jazz ranking and simultaneously one of the most pre-ordered albums at AbstractLogix.

The track called "Sentimental Journey" was ranked #1 on Jazz Rock World Fusion Radio's weekly top 20 in April 2013

Track listing:

1. Concussion
2. Space Flight
3. Distant Horizon
4. Sentimental Journey
5. Good Times
6. Challenge Day
7. Brain Fever
8. For Joe
9. Orient Express
10. Indie Dance
11. Emergency Evacuation
12. Como La Miel
13. Keep Relaxed

Lineup:
Art 'Spike' Schloemer (keyboards)

Featuring:
Scott Henderson (guitar)
Bob Franceschini (saxophone)
Bunny Brunel (bass)
Hadrien Feraud (bass)
Dennis Chambers (drums)
Kirk Covington (drums)

9 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. full of fantastic musicians born

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  4. If you are a fan of full-frontal fusion, this is killer. I'm going to buy this disk, it's that good.

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    Replies
    1. I just bought it, received it today!

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