Saturday, August 20, 2016

Adam Holzman & Brave New World - 1997 "The Big Picture"

Jazz keyboardist Adam Holzman (b. February 15, 1958, in New York, NY) has had an interesting career trajectory. The son of Jac Holzman, the president of Elektra Records during its late-'60s heyday, Holzman learned keyboards at an early age, picking up the instrument when he was in the third grade. Since he was in the inner circle of Elektra, he was not only exposed to many of the era's trailblazers, but he was also able to see how they worked. He hung out at Doors rehearsals, met Love, and saw the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in their prime. Like many musicians of his era, he was also heavily influenced by the Beatles. He found himself attracted to the music of Butterfield and the Fab Four, which led him to explore a number of different artists from Leon Russell to Joe Cocker, eventually leading to keyboard-dominated prog-rockers Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Yes. Holzman's infatuation with prog-rock turned out to be the doorway to his passion for jazz-fusion and synthesizers. In a matter of time, ELP gave way to Chick Corea's groundbreaking Return to Forever and Herbie Hancock's innovative early-'70s work. By the early '80s, he was working at Goodman's Music, a respected instrument store in Los Angeles. At Goodman's, he became an expert in MIDI technology and synth programming, which led to regular studio gigs. Soon, he had attracted the attention of Miles Davis, who was interested in MIDI. He joined Davis' band in 1985. Holzman stayed with the legendary musician for four years, spending his final year -- from 1988 to 1989 -- as the musical director for the entire band. Following his tenure with Davis, he toured and recorded with a variety of artists, including Chaka Khan, Michel Petrucciani, Wayne Shorter, Kolvynator and Kenny Garrett. In the spring of 1997, he joined Grover Washington Jr.'s band. By the late '90s, he was also playing with FM Tribe and Francis M'Bappe in New York City. In addition to his role as a sideman, Holzman pursued many of his own projects. He led the Los Angeles-based jazz-rock group the Fents with guitarist Ted Hall; they released The Other Side on Passport Jazz in 1987. He also formed the prog-influenced Mona Lisa Overdrive, who released an eponymous album in 1993. In the '90s, he released several solo albums -- In a Loud Way (1991), Overdrive (1994) and Big Picture (1997) -- before forming the New York-based, funk-inflected group Brave New World, who were a recording entity in their own right, releasing Worldwind in the fall of 1998. 

Holzman manned the keyboards in the late 80s Miles Davis Band. By '85, he became musical director for the band. The music is a punchy fusion. Electronic musicians sample jazz grooves, now here is a jazz band that introduced some of their tracks with ear-catching samples. It is a rhythm intensive effort with a clouded demeanor. An exciting album, having avoided any jazz fusion cliches. It could be considered rock where sax takes over guitar duties.

Adam Holzman and his band Brave New World have created an edgy progressive-funk concept album for the post-millenial age of fear. Inspired by bizarre events while on tour in Eastern Europe, The Big Picture is a science fiction soundtrack blending heavy funk, 90's cyber jazz, Miles and Weather Report influences. Former Miles Davis keyboardist Adam Holzman continues to carve out his own unique approach to hard-edge keyboard playing. He burns on Wurlitzer electric piano and synthesizers. Drummer Juju House and bass player Freddy Cash lay down some ridiculously thick grooves. Plus, these guys can write. Adventurous and powerful.

In the early 1980s, Holzman founded the Fents with Ted Hall. In 1985, he was hired by Miles Davis to play keyboards on the trumpeter's Tutu album, and stayed with him for four years, eventually becoming his musical director. He can be seen performing in the Davis concert video That's What Happened: Live in Germany 1987. In the early 1990s, he founded the band Mona Lisa Overdrive, which subsequently changed its name to Brave New World due to copyright issues.
Holzman has performed as a sideman with numerous performers and bands including: Abstract Truth, the Jason Becker Tribute, the Bob Belden Ensemble, Big Horns Bee, Bob's Book Club, Tom Browne, Miles Davis, the Miles Davis Tribute, Cesare Dell’Anna, Ray DeTone, Norman Dozier, Wayne Escoffery, Charles Fambrough, Anton Fig, Robben Ford, Jane Getter, Randy Hall, the Jimi Hendrix Tribute, Robin Kenyatta, Kelvynator, Chaka Khan, Steve Louw, the Teo Macero Project, Ed Maguire, the Mahavishnu Project, Ray Manzarek, Francis M'Bappe, Jason Miles, Marcus Miller, Mark Muller, Shaun Mullins, Takanori Niida, Michel Petrucciani, Kim Plainfield, Lincoln Goines, Twana Rhodes, Wallace Roney, Section 31, Sponge, Steps Ahead, Supa Group, David Taylor, Grover Washington, Jr., Lenny White, Ray Wilson, and Steven Wilson. Many of these performers he has also produced, arranged and composed for.

Tracklist:

01     Toxic Waste Introduction     0:59
02     Iron Curtain     3:07
03     Mad Cow Disease     4:09
04     The Longest Day     7:31
05     Chaos Theory     2:12
06     Second World     6:30
07     The Hot Zone     7:31
08     The Sky Is Falling     5:36
09     My Game Is Strong     5:23
10     Comrad Russell     0:12
11     Fred-Ex     6:03
12     Failed Industrial Belt     7:58

Personnel:

    Acoustic Guitar, Steel Guitar – Jane Getter
    Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Shaker, Alto Flute – Aaron Heick
    Bass, Programmed By [Bass] – Freddie Cash Jr.*
    Drums, Shaker, Percussion [Drum Loop, Trash Cans] – Ju Ju House
    Guitar – Allen Burroughs
    Guitar, Vocals, Voice – Mitch Stein
    Guitar, Voice – Mike Campbell (3)
    Organ, Drum Programming, Producer, Clavinet, Programmed By, Electric Piano [Wurlitzer], Keyboards, Arranged By, Piano, Synthesizer – Adam Holzman
    Vocals – Michael "Dino" Campbell*

2 comments:

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