Friday, May 5, 2017

Chad Wackerman - 1993 "The View"

The View is the second studio album by drummer Chad Wackerman, released in 1993 through CMP Records; it was later reissued together with Wackerman's 1991 album Forty Reasons as a limited edition double-disc compilation.

When drummer Chad Wackerman recorded The View for Germany's CMP label in 1993, real fusion wasn't as plentiful as it had been in the 1970s. Many A&R people seemed to want either formulaic smooth jazz/NAC artists or hard bop-oriented "Young Lions" in Armani suites -- if they weren't looking for the next Kenny G, they were looking for the next Wynton Marsalis. Nonetheless, worthwhile fusion was still being recorded -- it just wasn't as plentiful as it once was. The phrase "worthwhile fusion" easily describes The View is a decent, respectable effort that features such noteworthy soloists as Allan Holdsworth (one of fusion's most respected guitar heroes), Jim Cox (keyboards, organ, piano), and Walt Fowler (fl├╝gelhorn, trumpet). Throughout the album, Wackerman shows himself to be a sensitive, intuitive drummer. When Holdsworth, Cox, or Fowler is taking a solo, Wackerman knows how to be encouraging. Of course, the fact that Wackerman (whose influences include Tony Williams and Billy Cobham, among others) wrote most of the material himself doesn't hurt. And that material is diverse, ranging from the cerebral ("On the Edge," "Black Coffee") to the romantic ("Starry Nights"). Not surprisingly, The View was totally ignored by NAC stations in the United States -- even something as lyrical as ("Starry Nights") was rejected by NAC program directors, who reasoned that their listeners only wanted to hear smooth jazz favorites like Najee, Richard Elliot, and Dave Koz. And that's a shame because there was a time when stations that played electric, non-straight-ahead jazz would have welcomed an album like The View, which demonstrated that real fusion could still be found in 1993 if you knew where to look for it.

Chad Wackerman is a superb drummer, if a little cerebral at times. This record sounds a lot like Allan Holdsworth albums from the same era, which isn't very surprising since they share a lot of the same musicians. The tunes are very much in line with what you'd hear on Wardenclyffe Tower. That's a good thing. Wackerman and Holdsworth play their butts off. Essential listening if you're a fan of either Wackerman or Holdsworth.

A killer lineup, killer improv/solos, and killer compositions. Could you ask for anything more? The odd time signatures are an added treat. The coolest thing about this album is the trumpet melodies/solos from Walt Fowler. It's the icing on the cake. Do not delay in picking this album won't be dissapointed!

Track listing:

01.     "Close to Home"     (Chad Wackerman)     5:23
02.     "Across the Bridge"     (Wackerman)     5:44
03.     "Black Coffee"     (Wackerman)     5:57
04.     "Empty Suitcase"     (Wackerman, Cox, Johnson, Holdsworth, Fowler)     2:53
05.     "Introduction"     (Wackerman)     6:39
06.     "Starry Nights"     (Wackerman)     4:39
07.     "All Sevens"     (Wackerman)     8:13
08.     "On the Edge"     (Wackerman, Cox, Johnson, Holdsworth)     2:51
09.     "Just a Moment"     (Holdsworth, Fowler)     1:12
10.     "The View"     (Wackerman, Carl Verheyen)     5:06
11.     "Flares"     (Wackerman)     5:26
12.     "Bash"     (Wackerman)    1:33
13.     "Days Away"     (Wackerman, Cox, Johnson, Holdsworth, Fowler)     3:10

Total length:     58:46


Chad Wackerman – drums, percussion, production
Allan Holdsworth – guitar (tracks 1, 4, 5, 8, 9, 13)
Carl Verheyen – guitar (tracks 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 12)
Jim Cox – clavinet, synthesizer, piano, organ
Jimmy Johnson – bass
Walt Fowler – trumpet, flugelhorn