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Tribal Tech - Thick CD (album) cover

THICK

Tribal Tech

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.34 | 13 ratings

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wbiphoto
5 stars I'm also surprised, as the other reviewer, that this amazing recording by Tribal Tech has not been lauded and reviewed at least fifty times.

I will begin by saying that I am not a big fan of the blues. I have a low tolerance level for repetitive lines, licks and chord progressions that have been heard ten thousand times before. However, this is one of those exceptions where the playing, although grounded in blues and jazz-blues, is so outstanding that it raises the bar beyond most anything that's being done today.

If you need structure, themes, choruses and predictability in your music, then this album is not for you. But if you'd like to challenge yourself and taste and absolute masterpiece of jazz and blues improvisation then I highly encourage you to buy this album and listen to it carefully. The interplay between the musicians and their ability to accent and highlight each others' lines are reminiscent of classics like Miles' Bitches Brew and Herbie's Crossings and other "ambient jazz fusion" records from the early 1970s.

What differentiates this TT record from the aforementioned is the guitar, which was mostly non-existent on those 70s sessions. On Thick you have Scott Henderson on guitar, displaying a blend of virtuosity, inventiveness and inspiration seldom heard in today's overly abundant power-chord and shred-heavy affairs.

Thick is one of those rare records that's able to get nasty, heavy, electric and downright mind-blowing technical, yet retain an organic feel throughout its entirety. The title track has to be one of the best examples of cosmic blues guitar I have ever heard with a slow ambient build-up that climaxes on one of THE BEST solos I have ever heard. I am big fan of using wah pedals tastefully, to add emotion and tension, and Scott raises the bar on wah soloing to unprecedented heights.

(If you're a tone junkie, then you will get your fix with Thick. Henderson's tone is so THICK, creamy, soulful, clean yet dirty, and able to pierce through the mix without sounding overbearing; not an easy thing to do in the studio).

Yes, there are other musicians on this record aside from Scott; even though the guitarist steals the spotlight. The rest of the band is amazing, as well, and maintains an airy, spacey foundation without losing the groove; and there are plenty of grooves. But, the grooves never last too long for the music to get repetitive or boring. First and foremost this a jazz record and the accompaniment adheres to that premise.

On the track What Has He Had the band goes into a King Crimson-like drum and bass syncopation that ends with voices laughing and clapping behind dissonance and chaos. An absolute surprise, yet seamlessly fitting right in with everything else on the record.

Sheik Of Encino starts out sounding a lot like the smoother jazz fusion of the late 80s and ends up rising to a frenzy worthy of challenging the very best of Weather Report or the Mahvishnu Orchestra. Of course, to keep up with the overall theme of the record, there is an obligatory ambient section in the middle with some keyboards and cymbal work that doesn't disappoint.

In conclusion, this is easily a five star recording, but not of "progressive rock music", but of ambient-jazz-blues-rock-fusion. A masterpiece is a masterpiece and it doesn't have to be Anglo-European-classically influenced for it to be considered "essential"; nor does it have to have a story line like The Lamb on Broadway for it to be deep and thoughtful.

If you're ready to step out of your comfort zone and take a break from the predictable metal power chords or the old and tired symphonic prog, Thick presents and opportunity to engage some of THE BEST improvised jazz-rock that you will ever find.

FIVE STARS for Thick.

wbiphoto | 5/5 |

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