Saturday, October 6, 2018

The John Irvine Band - 2011 "Wait & See"

THE JOHN IRVINE BAND is a Progressive Jazz-Rock project lead by the composer and guitarist John Irvine.

"Intelligently written progressive fusion: 14.5/16" - Warren Barker (Progression Magazine)

“The John Irvine Band, a daring UK jazz fusion ensemble expertly doing its own thing. ” - Gregory Kemp, La Villa Strangiato (Ottawa/ CHUO 89.1 FM)

Being an enthusiastic devotee of guitar music I find my pleasure in searching for fairly unknown records containing music with a high quality level. However, this time the music found me. Our main editor sent me the album Wait & See by The John Irvine Band to review for Background Magazine. While reading the accompanying information, the words 'progressive' and 'jazz-rock' immediately attracted my attention. During my first listen, I tried to find some information about this all-instrumental trio hailing from the United Kingdom and consisting of guitarist and keyboardist John Irvine, who also occasionally plays the guitar synthesizer, bass player Doug Kemp, and drummer-percussionist Alan Emsle.

"Wait & See" is highly recommended to fans of the great guitarist Allan Holdsworth. On the short opening piece The Bat you can hear the Synthaxe guitar synthesizer inspired by Holdsworth, who once introduced this instrument on the album Atavrachon (1986). The next piece Hubbub also has similarities with this British guitar player, but the sound of the rhythm section slightly differs from the usual companions of Holdsworth. It's a combination of his musical style with John Irvine's own style. Frazzled goes in the direction of The David Becker Tribune, a band that might be unknown to the average reader. The heavier elements in this composition make it a very interesting song to listen to. CUL8R (Sweet Sorrow) is in line with one of my all-time favourite fusion bands, namely the no longer existing Triton. This is also the longest piece on the album lasting over eight minutes.

The interaction between the band members is just sublime. It's not just a showcase for the guitarist, but a successful band effort. During Zigzag the resemblance with the aforementioned David Becker returns, but only in the rhythm parts. Irvine's soloing is more in his own style. In April is a slower and more relaxed composition with smooth and fluent guitar sounds over a basic rhythm section; a nice song that will let your mind flow in different directions. When you get to the title track, you must have been impressed by the high standard of music that this new band produces. This piece is smoother with a catching melody line and after a while you'll be whistling the main melody along with the guitar. The final piece is called New Brunswick, a solo spot for John Irvine. Now you can enjoy the relaxed guitar sounds. Well, light a candle and have a good glass of wine...

This album by The John Irvine Band is a pleasant surprise. Wait & See has been musically influenced by Allan Holdsworth with hints of Pat Metheny. If you like the style of these musicians then this album is worthwhile buying. I'm glad that I got the opportunity to review this album and I'm sure this band has the quality to be signed to a major label that can provide worldwide promotion and support. Anyway, they have convinced me with their fusion the way it should be played. An impressive new band!

****+ Pedro Bekkers
(Very funny, while looking for reviews, I found one by my friend from many years...Pedro! lol.)

"Next Stop" is the 2nd release from the Scottish guitarist that heads his own project, The John Irvine Band and this record features 9 instrumental tracks in the Jazz-Fusion/Rock realm. The musicianship is all up to snuff and Mr. Irvine delivers some tasty and silky smooth melodic runs throughout his disc. A tune like "Pyramid Power" shows his Eric Johnson like side with fluid lines and an excellent harmonic interlude that further congers up the sonic imagery of EJ, while a song like "Slipstream" also demonstrates Irvine's mastery of the smooth and linear runs that seem to take the listener higher with every succeeding ascending run.

John Irvine does not play like a shredder and there aren't a lot of supersonic types of guitar flash on Next Stop and I for one are find this to be quite refreshing. Instead, Irvine opts for tasty runs that fit the songs and add flavor to each tune, while still peppering in some quality Fusion guitar playing. Irvine's chord phrasing is also a big part of his playing and also where I hear a lot of Eric Johnson and the amazing Allan Holdsworth in his playing.
Rounding out The John Irvine band are bass player, Doug Kemp and percussionist, Alan Emslie and this trio have a great disc here with Next Stop. This record would fit nicely in the Prog world just as well as in the Jazz-Fusion/Rock world. The musicianship is excellent and John Irvine's soloing style is ever expansive and expressive, which adds a quality often forgotten in the guitar playing world of our modern era

Track listing:

1. The Bat
2. Hubbub
3. Frazzled
4. CUL8R (Sweet Sorrow)
5. Zigzag
6. In April
7. Wait & See
8. New Brunswick


John Irvine - Guitars, Keyboards
Alan Emslie - Drums & Percussion
Doug Kemp - Bass



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  4. Thanks, never heard of this artist or his sidemen. Looking forward to listening! Deep River

  5. Sounds good, thanks!

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