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Phil Miller - In Cahoots: All That CD (album) cover


Phil Miller

Canterbury Scene

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Guitarist Phil Miller's solid fusion ensemble with luminaries Pete Lemer on keys, Elton Dean on alto sax and saxello, as well as other top-notch players like Jim Dvorak (trumpet), Mark Fletcher (drums) and Fred Baker (bass) spewing thoroughly enjoyable tight-but-loose English jazz rock at its best. When artists of this caliber create together, the result is usually good. In this case, here is a group of guys that could be shooting pool together one minute and ripping the lid off a local jazz club the next.

'Black Cat', the melodic cooker that opens this CD, simmers for over twelve minutes and exhibits the chemistry and dynamics Miller's boys have. 'Big Dick' ups the ante and provides a platform for Peter Lemer's slippery ivories and the trance-like state this band can reach. Arabesque and street-wise 'Inca' saunters with funkadelic flavor and has some very cool horn arrangements and guitar-horn harmonies. These fellas dominate their musical space but don't overwhelm with flash or contrivance... it would be unnecessary. The delicious 'Sleight of Hand' swirls with odd times, John Coltrane old-school jazz expressions, causing you to smell the smoke, liquor and sex of the small jazz club atmosphere it conjures. 'Out There' has a Latin theme and is a quiet refrain before the great finale, the racing synth-jazzer 'Your Root 2', a prog rock diamond in the rough and a high note to close on for a completely satisfying session.

Report this review (#120041)
Posted Saturday, April 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is a very enjoyable Jazz record from Phil Miller, one of Canterbury's finest. He has Elton Dean and Jim Dvorak (Keith Tippett) on horns, Fred Baker on bass, Pete Lemer (Gilgamesh) on keys, and Mark Fletcher on drums, replacing Pip Pyle who had just left. Miller composed 5 of the 7 tracks. I just wish he was more out in front with his guitar playing. I guess you could say this really is a band effort, I just prefered his "Cutting It Both Ways" album a little more because he doesn't seem to mind being out in the spotlight on that one. If there's any one person who does standout it's Mark Fletcher's drum work. Miller even says in the liner notes that "Fletch is a fantastic player, his enthusiasm and sense of fun are infectious and it's great to have him on board".

"Black Cat" is a song that really features Baker's bass lines early while Fletch pounds away. Lemer takes the lead a minute in while it's Miller time before 3 minutes. Nice. Check out the bass / drum section 5 minutes in with horns to follow. It's the Dean and Fletcher show after 9 minutes. A full sound a minute later. "Big Dick" is actually one of the shorter tunes. It's darker with deep sounds and odd metered drumming. Keys come in then horns. Some nice drum work after 5 minutes. "Inca" is laid back with some good bass and I love the keys. Guitar come in as it all sounds so pleasant. Horns take over for the guitar as bass and drums continue at a relaxed pace.

"Sleight Of Hand" is light and jazzy, again the keys really impress me. "Upside" is fairly uptempo as piano leads the way, while bass and drums support. Horns later. Guitar after 2 minutes. "Out There" features mellow piano melodies with bass mostly. Cool tune as horns come in. "Your Root 2" opens with some fabulous drumming. A full sound a minute in, horns become prominant. Keys go on a run 3 1/2 minutes in. Vibes, bass and drums lead the way 5 minutes in. Keys are back. Great sound 6 1/2 minutes in.

Great album and it's a lot of fun too. Enjoy !

Report this review (#186753)
Posted Thursday, October 23, 2008 | Review Permalink

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