As if the anxiety conveyed by repeated earthquakes in his living area were not enough, in recent times this writer was also disturbed by an increasingly high number of promos whose content was, to say the least, embarrassing. You know, records with a “name” on top but, artistically speaking, amounting to nil; or – worse yet – a “nothing” pretending to be “something”, with pompous press releases accompanying horribly ineffective music. What a massive amount of wasted hours in a reviewer’s existence.
Here we have a “name” – drummer Grant Calvin Weston, who has worked with Ornette and James Blood Ulmer, and I’ll say nothing more – involved in a file-swapping collaboration with people whose value has been ascertained for a long time. Percussionist Jonathan Saxon (the project’s instigator), bassist Steuart Liebig and keyboardist Wayne Peet belong to the category of technically refined musicians who are not afraid of exchanging blows when the moment comes. Together, these men produced eight tracks of solid jazz-rock with funk accents, occasionally spiced by abstract electronics and loops.
It’s a lively record, not particularly innovative but certainly funny to listen to. The rhythmic muscle is obviously the predominant characteristic, but Liebig and Peet are not mere presences: they composed some of the material, adding their individuality to substantiate a sound as compact as the short right hand that a 45-year old George Foreman used to knock Michael Moorer out way back in 1995. Listeners well versed in this particular field of acoustic expression will immediately feel at home enjoying the wealth of robust pulses, paunchy vamps and acid timbres. Considering the drive emerging from these takes, one fantasizes about a potentially explosive live setting.