Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Vinnie Colaiuta - 1994 "Vinnie Colaiuta"

Long-revered session drummer Vinnie Colaiuta jets to fusion's version of The Twilight Zone on his Stretch Records debut, a multi-influential, hardcore player's fiesta rife with moody effects, monster expressions by all his high-powered pals, and decadent experimentation. So, is that good or bad? Depends on your perspective. From a purely artistic point of view, if your listening palette can handle rambling but iron-fisted nuclear power and intrusive samples, then it's a fantastic look into another realm. If organization and focused craft is an issue, if melody is king, it will drive you insane while still provoking you. To focus on the positive aspects: Colaiuta's amazing as an all-around percussionist, serving up a hip-hop, blues atmospheres, even a wailing dance cut ("Momoska"). The guest list, from John Patitucci to Herbie Hancock to Sting, contributes ear-popping extravagance. Michael Landau strokes his strings like an alien comet from Krypton. And the leader even shows a softer side ("Darlene's Song"). Overall, intriguing, though more fun for the musicians involved than for the listener.

One of the best drummers of all time, Vinnie's compositions and playing on this CD are outstanding. It's a drummer led CD, but all the players here shine. I would have enjoyed this CD more if there was a long Vinnie solo, but he does no dominate the performances.

Vinnie has always been an inspiration to me, so I decided to buy his album. It was great! He has some really wacked out fusion! Buy this!! Especially if you're a fan of Vinnie or just Jazz Fusion!!

I bought this CD waaay back when it was released and studied it intently as a drummer/musician. What I came away with was a new sense of how time can be applied to music. Vinnie, is the only cat that I have heard that can play behind, ahead or right on top of the beat with metronomic precision while still making the groove *feel* good. This is a monumental achievement and I think one of the most important things to consider while listening. There are alot of very subtle things going on within this album. As a drummer, I will say that you may not be able to fully grasp some of them unless you have put in some serious hours with a metronome. But you'll feel it and be bobbing your head or tapping your foot just the same. Achieving machine like alignment with a metronome is only the 1st step. You gotta then figure out how to make it feel good and that ain't easy...Vinnie has done it.

Of course, Vinnie has incredible chops and an inhuman command of odd time signatures and you can hear just how comfortable and relaxed he is with these. The word "finesse" comes to mind.

I admire that Vinnie created an album of excellent music with some amazing drumming instead of another Super Chops-Volume 3. It shows his maturity as a composer and overall musician. The *music* on the this record is really good and enjoyable to listen to. Those reviews that say was is holding back are correct. And thank the heavens he did.

P.S.The recording and production/mixing/mastering are also very high quality and still hold up over 15 years later. The CD is a good reference point if you are an audio engineer-

Vinnie Colaiuta's self-titled album was recommended to me by a friend who was a mutual Frank Zappa zealot - of course, that's where I heard Colaiuta's work originally. Upon first listen, I was quite apathetic to the majority of the album; however, my disinterest quickly subsided after subsequent listens. It's one of those albums that grows on you, like many of the late Frank Zappa's - whose influence is apparent on this album. Additionally, this album features an array of guest performers, including some of whom Vinnie Colaitua has played with before, including: Sting, Chick Corea, John Patitucci, Herbie Hancock et al. A well-constructed and highly recommended album!

Track listing

1     I'm Tweeked / Attack Of The 20lb Pizza     6:22
2     Private Earthquake : Error 7     7:23
3     Chauncey     9:39
4     John's Blues     5:25
5     Slink     5:57
6     Darlene's Song     5:41
7     Momoska (Dub Mix)     8:04
8     Bruce Lee     6:01
9     If One Was One     3:26


    Drums, Keyboards, Percussion, Programmed By, Liner Notes – Vinnie Colaiuta
    Acoustic Bass – John Patitucci (tracks: 6)
    Bass – Neil Stubenhaus (tracks: 1, 8, 9), Pino Palladino (tracks: 2), Sal Monilla (tracks: 7), Sting (tracks: 3), Tim Landers (tracks: 5)
    Guitar – Dominic Miller (tracks: 3, 4, 6), Michael Landau (tracks: 1, 8, 9), Mike Miller (7) (tracks: 4-6)
    Organ – David Sancious (tracks: 2)
    Percussion – Bert Karl (tracks: 7)
    Piano – Chick Corea (tracks: 6)
    Piano, Soloist – Herbie Hancock (tracks: 7)
    Synthesizer, Electric Piano – David Goldblatt (tracks: 4, 5)
    Tenor Saxophone – Steve Tavaglione (tracks: 2 to 7)
    Trombone – Ron Moss (tracks: 8)
    Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Jeff Beal (tracks: 4, 6)