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5 stars Imagine Tony Williams, Bill Laswell, Pharoah Sanders, and Buckethead walk into a bar?

You don't have to.

Apologies to Byard Lancaster, Graham Haynes, and Nicky Skopelitis. You guys apparently also walked into the same bar at the same time and the end result is one intense album, but I'm not familiar you guys.

This is oh my God intense instrumental music. Also Tony William's last album before he died.

Ironically I was browsing around for Buckethead stuff and ran into this, Arcana, which also happened to be the name of the company I was working for at the time.

Spacey jazz rock with a little metal seasoning. So synthymetaljazzrockfusion? Not well known but well worth getting to know.

Report this review (#639662)
Posted Thursday, February 23, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Pharoah Sanders, Bill Laswell, Tony Williams, Buckethead, Nicky Skopelitis and Graham Haynes add up USA's Jazz/Fusion band , ARCANA. (There are other bands that go by the same name.)

But not any band can claim such an all-star cast under their name-title. Let me start with long time sax legend Pharoah Sanders. To think that this guy more than once played alongside the great John Coltrane, well, talks a bit about his level of performance. (He also played alongside composer and piano player Alice Coltrane, John's wife). Pharoah Sanders brought the "esoteric" performance element, to both Coltrane's music, as he does in his appearances in this 1997, ARCANA "Arc of Testimony" album.

Bill Laswell, well as I mentioned somewhere, is a freaking musical genius. But what I didn't emphasize then, but do now, is that he is also a hell of a bass player, as the skilled composer, multi-instrumentalist he is. Tony Williams (who died during this recording), well, anyone aquainted with this sub-genre knows his fondness for "grandeure". Also familiar to proggers guitarist Buckethead, which spiraling and haunting licks enhance the greatest peaks this record ascends. And everybody relying on Nicky Skopelitis guitar riffs. Graham Haynes contributes with his cornet on 2 tracks. Well! This is ARCANA.

How they sound? Like blending "old school" modern Jazz with Bill Laswell's intricate music figures and ever expansive "ambiental" structures. Moving towards stilistic perfection, but within a "chaotic" environment. The "esoteric" Pharoah Sanders leaving his heart in each of his interventions, as always! But each musician takes turns in the development of each track, so creativity runs wild, but never out of place, in the hands of these musicians' extraordinary and masterful performance skills!

****4.5 "Jazz/Fusion taken on a wild ride" PA stars.

For the brave at heart Prog/Jazz fans!

Report this review (#1214925)
Posted Friday, July 18, 2014 | Review Permalink

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