Thursday, July 13, 2017

Eric Marienthal - 1990 "Crossroads"

Eric Marienthal has always had limitless potential. Primarily known as an altoist but also an excellent player on tenor and soprano, Marienthal came to fame with Chick Corea's Elektric Band and tends to sound at his best when teamed with players of that caliber. Many of his own projects suffer from overproduction, a lack of spontaneity and commercial material, but that is not true of Crossroads. In groups ranging from quartets to sextets, Marienthal is challenged by the material (all group originals), matching wits with the likes of keyboardist Russell Ferrante (from the Yellowjackets), bassist John Patitucci and, on three selections, Chick Corea. Crossroads contains some of Eric Marienthal's finest playing outside of the context of the Elektric Band. Well worth searching for.

I have to confess that I bought this great album on the strength of the names of the players on it, rather than being an Eric Marienthal fan [sorry Eric]. You only have to look at his choice of players to know it's going to be worth hearing.

What a line up he has! Vinnie Colaiuta plays drums on most of the tracks, while on the others; you'll hear Dave Weckl and Terri Lyne Carrington as well. John Patitucci plays bass throughout. In addition, with Russell Ferrante on keyboards and Chick Corea on piano, it couldn't fail to be a winner. Interestingly, the main writing credits go to Patitucci and Ferrante, with Marienthal a co-writer on two of the tunes.

Although Marienthal's playing is of course very good, and does play some great solos either on soprano, alto or tenor sax - I feel it's his supporting cast that really grab your attention. Vinnie is stunning, as usual, and plays a cracking solo. However, even when he's just playing through the compositions, it's classic Vinnie.

Terri Lyne also plays superbly. She also gets a solo spot. Of course, Weckl does what only he can do. It's beginning to sound like a drummer's album, rather than a sax player's solo album! Maybe that's just how I hear it.

I would say the writing is what you would expect from a fusion band of that time - a few stand-out tunes, but in the main, it only hits the spot on a couple of occasions. My favourite tracks are probably, "SPOONS", "UPSIDE DOWN" and "RAIN ON THE ROOF".

As I said, it's more about the playing than the actual musical content that makes this album work. Let's face it, with this kind of star line-up supporting you, know it'll be worth a listen.

One the finest Sax Soprano in the nineties, the overflowing talent of him is carved in relief, along every single track of this praised album.

If you notice carefully, you will watch the presence of Big Leaguers musicians: Jon Patitucci, Chick Corea, Vinnie Colaiuta, Alex Acuna and Russell Ferrante are names that by themselves are capable to gather any Hall Concert.

The sun was in my eyes, Upside down, Hide & seek, On the eve of tomorrow and Rain on the roof are the most significant tracks in a winner album.

This is Eric's best album I know of, even to this day. The album consists of great playing & very strong tracks, thanx to Patitucci & Ferrante. A little surprising Eric can stand so firmly in 2 such diverse genres, you'd think he somewhat misses making a fantastic album like this one. Ah well. If you'd only will get 1 album of Eric's, get this, after a few listens you won't regret it. It just has such quality & depth to it..

Track listing:

1 The Sun Was in My Eyes 5:52
2 Spoons 6:45
3 Yellow Roses 4:03
4 Upside Down 6:40
5 Schmooze 4:30
6 Cross Country 8:05
7 Hide & Seek 5:03
8 Two Bits 5:42
9 On the Eve of Tomorrow 5:53
10 Rain on the Roof 7:04


Electric bass guitar: John Patitucci
Drums: Terri Lyne Carrington, Dave Weckl, Vinnie Colaiuta
Synthesizer: David Witham
Percussion: Alex Acuña
Keyboard: Russell Ferrante
Piano: Chick Corea
Piano and synthesizer: John Beasley



  2. I totally agree. The best Marienthal album ever. And it has some truly great songs on it. "Spoons" and "On the eve of tomorrow" to begin with :) And it has several unforgettable Colaiuta moments, too.

  3. Also agree. Fantastic album. Thanks!

  4. Eric Marienthal - Spoons