Gregg Bendian - Jeff Gauthier - Steuart Liebig - G.E. Stinson — Bone Structure
(Cryptogramophone CG 114, 2003, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2006-05-01Superstar improv jams can be inspired by many attributes including astute listening, profound musicianship and abandoned release. Varying doses of each of these ingredients is found in these twelve pieces recorded across two blistering LA sessions dating from spring 2000. Bendian is the most well known player of the trio having championed modern day jazz fusion across the US, while Stinson is perhaps best known for his groundbreaking work with fusion and new age pioneers Shadowfax. In this capacity though, it’s two blazing sets of smoking work outs and creepy interludes as the quartet relies on textural backdrops in parallel with tasty chops. Stinson’s palette of audio tools has been enhanced to include sonic trappings and backdrops for much of the twelve pieces. Violinist Gauthier’s style is not far removed from L. Shankhar’s role supporting Peter Gabriel or John McLaughlin in Shakti. The weirdest collaboration occurs when tempo slips and the ensemble slides into a mode of ghostly free jazz as on “Plasma Wave” or the piano/violin conversation on “Toothpick Fantasy.” Ambient lulls are also part of the master jam plan as best represented on “Ether Or” and the metallic “Spirit Box.” To say that the disc ends on a barn burner is an understatement. Stinson lets it all out with a barrage of guitar frenzy keeping pace with Gauthier’s violin and Bendian’s adept kit playing. In closing the disc will certainly appeal to jam fans and devotees of the 70s fusion as well.
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