Monday, November 20, 2017

Various Artists - 1997 "Jazz Fusion Volume 2"

The second of two Rhino CDs mostly covers the 1975-1984 period (with Miles Davis' "Mr. Pastorius" dating from 1989). One of the most interesting aspects to this reissue is that it not only has examples of jazz musicians playing rock, but rock musicians coming closer to performing jazz. The second volume has one selection apiece from the Brecker Brothers ("Some Skunk Funk"), Brand X, Jean-Luc Ponty, Bruford, Ronnie Montrose, Dixie Dregs, Larry Carlton, John McLaughlin ("Belo Horizonte"), Steve Khan, Miles Davis, Allan Holdsworth, and Steve Morse. Most of the performances are quite fiery and the instrumental music is consistently exciting. Although the two Rhino volumes are not quite definitive (some groups are missing and the selections are not strictly in chronological order), they do offer listeners an excellent overview of the much-maligned music.

Here's a refreshingly varied collection of some of the best jazz-rock fusion music from Rhino, who are really masters at digging up little-known gems to put beside the more famous ones in their compilations. This collection is much better than Jazz Fusion Volume 1 at displaying the true hormonal magic and utterly unique musical plane that can result when, rare enough though it is, all the elements come together in a virtuoso jazz-fusion group. Where else can you find hard-to-find stuff like Steve Khan's Casa Loco, to go along with Miles Davis's brilliant late-period "Mr. Pastorious," Jean-Luc Ponty's classic Enigmatic Ocean, parts I to IV, Bill Bruford's Hell's Bells, Ronnie Montrose, The Brecker Bros. and the Dixie Dregs' "Take it Off the Top" on the same CD? And if all that still doesn't kick your mule sore, turbo-charge you hormones and make you macho, here's something even more gaucho: just play "Nuclear Burn" by Phil Collins' monster '70s fusion group Brand X with the volume knob at 11, and call me if your brain isn't an omelette after you're done. Rounding out the diverse appearnces are the legendary "Point It Up" guitar solo from Larry Carlton, and, as a sort of breather from all the fire-breathing, John Mclaughlin's gorgeous and ultra-sophisticated flamenco-jazz-Brazilian-fusion acoustic piece "Belo Horizonte." So, if you can put your envy aside and just accept the fact that you'll probably never be able to play your instrument half as good as any of these guys (the skin-flute excluded), there is some extremely good music to be discovered in the much despised and ignored "Jazz Fusion" genre. This disc is a great place to start.

http://jazz-rock-fusion-guitar.blogspot.com/2015/09/various-artists-1997-jazz-fusion-volume.html

Track Listing:

  01. Some Skunk Funk - The Brecker Bros.
  02. Nuclear Burn - Brand X
  03. Enigmatic Ocean, Parts I-IV - Jean-Luc Ponty
  04. Hell's Bells - Bruford
  05. Town Without Pity - Ronnie Montrose
  06. Take It Off The Top - Dixie Dregs
  07. Point It Up - Larry Carlton
  08. Belo Horizonte - John Mc Laughlin
  09. Casa Loco - Steve Khan
  10. Mr. Pastorius - Miles Davis
  11. Three Sheets To The Wind - Allan Holdsworth
  12. The Introduction - Steve Morse Band

Personnel:

Guitar - Bob Mann, John Goodsall, Ronnie Montrose, Steve Morse, Larry Carlton, Allan Holdsworth, Steve Khan, John McLaughlin, Daryl Stuermer
Drums - Harvey Mason, Sr., Jeff Porcaro, Rick Shlosser, Steve Jordan, Chad Wackerman, Tommy Campbell, Al Foster, Bill Bruford, Phil Collins, Steve Smith
Bass - Marcus Miller, Jerry Peek, Andy West, Jeff Berlin, Ralphe Armstrong, Jean Paul Celea, Alan Fitzgerald, Anthony Jackson, Percy Jones, Abraham Laboriel, Will Lee
Keyboards - Mark Parrish, Allan Zavod, Dave Stewart, Francois Couturier, Robin Lumley, Don Grolnick, Greg Mathieson
Percussion - Steve Sheman, Ralph MacDonald, Manolo Badrena, Jean-Pierre Drouet
Violin - Allen Sloan, Jean-Luc Ponty
Synthesizer - Katia Labeque
Flugelhorn, Trumpet - Randy Brecker
Piano - Edgar Winter
Sax (Tenor) - Michael Brecker
Trumpet - Miles Davis
Sax (Alto) - David Sanborn

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