Tohpati: guitar; Jimmy Haslip: bass; Chad Wackerman: drums; Pak Kompyang, Iwan Wiradz: Indonesian vocals on “Rahwana”
In spite of the fact that I have listened to hundreds of fusion albums throughout my existence, meaningful verbal creation about the genre today is an unenviable chore given the excess of clichés identifying almost everything released in this area. However, for some inexplicable reason I still manage to accept the music of Tohpati – including the “easygoing” tracks – for its enthusiastic freshness, a sorely lacking trait most elsewhere. To plug Tribal Dance, Moonjune honcho Leonardo Pavkovic writes “Fans of Jeff Beck, Wayne Krantz, Allan Holdsworth, Scott Henderson, Oz Noy and, of course, the Indonesian guitar icon Dewa Budjana will surely want to pick this up”. The lone name that came to my mind more often than not was instead that of Kazumi Watanabe, frequently recalled both in the type of phrasing and for certain harmonic sequences (“Rahwana” and “Supernatural” being proper illustrations of what I’m saying). The album flows quite comfortably; brisk pacing (with a couple of slower episodes), manual facility and melodic affluence are expertly balanced to warrant a relaxing evening. Haslip and Wackerman do not need anyone’s hype to remember the sort of ever-tasteful technical behemoths they are. No authentically innovative ideas are expressed, but sometimes that’s not mandatory. Just take account of three musicians who perform according to their high standards without surplus of commonplace; this is precisely what happens here. Tohpati confirms himself as a genuinely talented guitarist completely deserving his increasing renown.