Monday, January 13, 2003


Album: ‘The View’
Artist: Chad Wackerman
Number of Discs: 1
Label: CD 03064

Chad Wackerman (first known for his fiery, polyrhythmic convivance with Frank Zappa) continues to be a force to be reckoned with, both on drums and as a fusion-jazz composer. Two years after his stunning 1991 solo debut, 'Forty Reasons' [reviewed last year in NFE], he returned with this album, 'The View'. The original quartet, which included Allan Holdsworth (gtr), Jimmy Johnson (bs), Jim Cox (keys) and Chad himself (perc) is here supplemented by Carl Verheyen on guitar and, distinctively, Walt Fowler on trumpet and flugelhorn. The range and style is similarly diverse, but with fewer free-form interludes and more emphasis on the wider possibilities of instrumental interplay.

Wackerman's band can groove, swing and chill - but above all they are musicians' musicians, seeking to explore melodic, textural and harmonic possibilities; here departing altogether from the script, there coalescing and fusing around a fresh extemporary idea on a through-composed theme.

The latest Chad Wackerman project is the Australian-based 'Scream' (distributed in Europe by EFA/Metalimbo Records), featuring Cox and Fowler alongside Leon Gaer (synthesized bass), Daryl Pratt (an orchestral percussionist) and James Muller (guitars). I have heard only excerpts so far, but it is clear that this band will continue to blaze fresh trails in new jazz. They are recording in 2003.

Chad and Jimmy Johnson are featured on a new Allan Holdsworth Trio album, following the summer tour (2002) in Australia. The CD - released in Japan and available in the US on import - is called called 'All Night Wrong' and is produced in 3 formats; normal CD, Super Audio CD, and 5.1 Super Audio CD through Sony Records. Another new one to look out for is from Banned From Utopia. The title is "So Ya Don't Like Modern Art". This outfit is comprised mostly of Zappa alumni - Bobby Martin, Tommy Mars, Bruce, Walt and Tom Fowler, Kurt McGettrick, Albert Wing, Ed Mann, Mike Miller, Arthur Barrow (no relation) and Chad Wackerman. The CD is released on Favored Nations Records.



Meanwhile, Allan Holdsworth's Flat Tire is out in the US but not Europe. Orange County is his regular home these days, and the extraordinary guitarist has been touring mostly in the Americas and Australasia. He was booked for two appearances at London's Jazz Cafe back in November 2002, but those dates were subsequently pulled. Sadly his website is rarely up-to-date. But when I hear any further news, you'll know about it. Meanwhile this unofficial AH site and Gnarly Geezer are the places to check.

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