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OHMPHREY

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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OHMphrey biography
OHMphrey is a side project of three members of the Chicago-based jam-band Umphrey's McGee (keyboardist Joel Cummins, guitarist Jake Cinninger and drummer Kris Myers) and two from fusion trio OHM: (guitarist Chris Poland, a legendary player who's perhaps best known for work with headbanging pioneers Megadeth, and bassist Robertino Pagliari). Having jammed on stage at Martyrs' Restaurant and Pub in Umphreys McGee's hometown of Chicago, the OHMphrey outfit formed a kind of mutual admiration society amongst themselves. As of 2009, the collective is represented by one album and sporadic live dates as allowed by the two active bands.

On their self-titled debut album, every note played, every beat pounded out, was inspired by the creative goings-on during a two-day whirlwind jam fest at Poland's California studio. OHMphrey spun a creative cocoon that insulated them from the outside world, and this intense focus inspired some burning, impromptu composition and even the titles of the tracks. 'We wanted to make a good old fashioned fusion statement,' says Cinninger, who cites John McLaughlin and Al DiMeola as influences on his guitar style. 'It was all about just getting the right vibe in the room and hitting the record button.'

The OHMphrey crew displays a high degree of melodic interplay that recalls the excitement of Return to Forever, the Super Session with Mike Bloomfield, Stephen Stills and Al Kooper, Allan Holdsworth's mind-bending solo material, Joe Satriani's Surfing With the Alien, and Miles Davis' fusion explorations (circa A Tribute to Jack Johnson and Bitches Brew).

Complementing and rooting the stratospheric musical moments heard on this record is the rubbery and often tricky rhythmic approach of the Myers-Pagliari/drum-bass tandem. The combination of Myers' complex time grooves and Pagliari's fretless acrobatics (a la Brand X's Percy Jones) lays a powerful foundation that allows immense freedom for the soloists. Poland's virtuosic playing evokes Holdsworth and Beck while Cinninger pulls from a huge array of textures pulled from Pink Floyd to Metallica to Prince. Cummins tastefully adds in both background coloring and a few impressive solo spots of his own.

These extended instrumental jams are exciting and cohesive statements, not endless and mindless noodling. Despite differences in background and musical styles, the band seamlessly weaves together elements of metal, jazz, blues and prog rock. This familiarity is evident i...
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OHMphreyOHMphrey
Magna Carta 2009
Audio CD$10.27
$8.83 (used)
PosthastePosthaste
Magna Carta 2012
Audio CD$9.95
$6.99 (used)
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OHMPHREY discography


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OHMPHREY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.52 | 14 ratings
Ohmphrey
2009
3.84 | 15 ratings
Posthaste
2012

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OHMPHREY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Posthaste by OHMPHREY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.84 | 15 ratings

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Posthaste
OHMphrey Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars US act OHMPHREY was formed back in 2009 by members of fusion band Ohm and jam band Umphrey's McGee, and released their debut album the same year. "Posthaste" is their second full length production, and was issued by Magna Carta Records in the spring of 2012.

Instrumental jazz fusion that touches upon a good variety of expressions and plentiful of passages with improvised features is what OHMphrey provides on their second CD "Posthaste". Mostly improvising within a sketchy framework these excursions aren't void of structure, but feature ample amounts of sequences that are rather free of boundaries too. Existing fans and followers of instrumental fusion with a high degree of improvised sequences should be a key audience, and in particular those amongst the latter that enjoy music of this kind when it also incorporates details more commonly used by metal acts.

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 Ohmphrey by OHMPHREY album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.52 | 14 ratings

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Ohmphrey
OHMphrey Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars A US product between the Jazz/Fusion act Ohm and Jam-Rockers Umphrey's McGee, Ohm-phrey started rehearsals in 2009, featuring guitarist Chris Poland and bassist Robertino Pagliari from Ohm and guitarist Jake Cinninger, keyboardist Joel Cummins and drummer Kris Myers from Umphrey's McGee.These would soon end up to the band's self-titled debut, released the same year on Magna Carta.

Reasonably ''Ohmphrey'' contains elements from both the Fusion approach of Ohm and the jamming energy of Umphrey's McGee.Crunchy guitar riffing followed by the some strong jazzy solos, swirling bass lines, complex drumming but also hypnotic passages with dreamy synths on the background.The album presents a nice balance between relaxing parts and fiery, more technical playing, where Jazz, Fusion, Heavy Rock (there is a strong RUSH flavor throughout) and Funk are well-tight together and any fans of these bands are sure to follow the project.The shorter tracks of the album are very good with some nice ideas on the solo and lead parts, surprisingly the longer ones that close the album are a bit of a dissapointment.Too improvised and loose in terms of structure with overstretched themes and grooves, these sound more like long jamming sections than fully-arranged ideas.

File next to the albums of OHM, UZEB, GAMALON, TRIBAL TECH, DJAM KARET and UMPHREY'S MCGEE.Strong and dynamic Fusion with Heavy Rock touches here and there, still I think the two very long ending jams should have been either avoided or shortened.Recommended overall.

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 Posthaste by OHMPHREY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.84 | 15 ratings

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Posthaste
OHMphrey Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Negoba
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Heaping Helping of Jazz Jam Stew

Ohmphrey is a side project of Umphrey's McGee, one of the bigger bands on the jam scene in recent years, and Ohm, an LA jazz fusion trio widely regarded in guitar nerd circles. As it happens, Umphrey's main guitarist Jake Cinniger just happens to be one of those axe nerds. Ohm's Chris Poland, most famous for his run as the first lead guitarist of Megadeth, has emerged from the legions of 80's shredders as one of the few who really has the musical goods. This fact derives mainly from the fact that Poland cut his teeth not on metal but on 70's fusion such as Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra. Cinniger, on the other hand, is strongly rooted in metal and prog. Umphrey's frequently pulls out Metallica, Pink Floyd, and even occasionally King Crimson during their live sets.

POSTHASTE is Ohmphrey's second offering, and the outfit has fixed what I felt to be the major shortcoming of the debut album. That disc was literally just edits of two days of jamming organized into songs. The different tracks certainly had different vibes and feels, but really weren't fully realized compositions. On the sophomore effort, the songs are clearly defined, but there's still massive amounts of room for improvisation. The first three tracks in particular are more composed. The opener, "Devil's in the Details," is especially heavy and much more like the dark prog of King Crimson than fusion. I suspect from the feel that this comes from Cinniger's roots more than Poland's. Whatever the source, I was deliciously surprised when I first sampled this song as it fulfilled all my hopes, realizing the potential I'd heard in the debut. "Tom Bombadil" is more prog than fusion as well, with keyboard player Joel Cummins pulling tones straight from 1978. Track 4, "The River Runs" begins with a laid-back groove that probably most resembles what you'd expect from this combination of players, but then breaks into a nasty bridge section that again aludes to LARKS TONGUES IN ASPIC.

While this project is certainly the baby of the two guitarists, the actual sound is anything but a wank fest. We don't hear Poland shredding almost at all until at least 15 minutes into the disc. His first lead could easily be mistaken for a keyboard as his ring-modulated tone is about as far from metal guitar as you can get. His overall role here is much more as a band member than a guest soloist and the music benefits massively from this. He simply hears harmony differently than most rock players, and the result contributes greatly to the otherworldliness of this project. Cinniger, interestingly, continues to be (at least to my ear) the actual band leader here, though with a little more balance this time around. As director of the band, he's excellent. However, unlike the first disc where Cinniger seemed more comfortable and at least kept up with Poland, here his solo spots are more typical and a little less focused. Poland seems also to have shaken off some rust since he had to take a break with ear problems and his solo playing here and on the Polcat record have a renewed energy.

While Poland and Cinniger get the attention, the other three members of this band are just as tasty and blistering. Cummins gets a much bigger role this time, and he seems to be having a one-man prog revival, including a reprise of the sixteenth note run from DARK SIDE OF THE MOON's "On the Run" at one point. The rhythm section sounds like they've been playing together for decades. Kris Myers plays like he's just been let out of the barn for the spring, and lays down some slippery grooves that are quite impressive. Bassist Robertino Pagliari may simply be the best bassist you've never heard of. His leads are as interesting as any of the other player in the band, and his fretless technique is huge. Like Poland, he uses effects liberally to keep the sound varied. While Cinniger may be the leader, Pags is the anchor. During the bonus tracks of live jams, you can hear Pags choosing the grooves to center on, when it's time for a change in the sound.

What makes this so great is that despite all the players being monstrously talented in their roles, they seem to be serving a common interest rather than ever wanting to showcase themselves. These are mature musicians who are delighting in the interplay, the sound as a whole, the joy of talent manifesting itself.

I think almost anyone can enjoy this music, but it is musicians that are going to really appreciate how amazing this work is. Certainly, the more developed compositions are going to make this more appealing to prog fans in general rather than just fusion or jam band fans.

Bottom line - probably will be on my best of 2012 list.

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 Posthaste by OHMPHREY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.84 | 15 ratings

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Posthaste
OHMphrey Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by merid1en

4 stars While not a hug fan of the Jazz genre, i felt a review of this disc in order. I stumbled across this little gem at a pal's place whose tastes run more to the Al Jarreau than to prog. Expecting a night of serious jazz, I found myself drawn to this intriguing blend of jazz, prog and rock.

I am not too familiar with OHM or Umphrey, so I can only tell what my ears heard, and not relate it to any backstory.

This album combines elements of free form jazz with melodic riffs and even sometimes sweeping stanzas to bring together an album of mixed nuts. There is something here, sure to please every ear, even if the whole disc doesn't shoehorn into any one "type" of music. Take for example 'Ramona's Car", which divides its attention between a jazz piece and a proggy Santana. 'The Sun Also Rises" is as progressive a piece of music as I've ever heard, with its long moving musical target and satisfying conclusion. As expected by it's name 'Reggaelic' inserts a gentle reggae bass riff into a nice moving progressive piece of music.

Take note that , if an element of prog is defined by musicianship, these guys fit right in. This is a tight band with interesting music and impecable timing. As a change from the usual, I recommend you get your hands on the disc 'Posthaste', posthaste.

3.8/5

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 Ohmphrey by OHMPHREY album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.52 | 14 ratings

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Ohmphrey
OHMphrey Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Negoba
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Jazz Fusion Jam Master Class

When I heard that two of my current favorite bands, Ohm: and Umphrey's Mcgee, were getting together for a side project, I almost melted in excitement. Trying to think what these improvisational masters would create in tandem, I was overwhelmed with possibility. The result, the self titled Ohmphrey album, is both more and less than I had hoped. Knowing all of the individual musicians' sounds fairly well, the album sounds like each of the guys doing their usual thing (which is great stuff). Don't expect monster surprises if you know the bands already. The good news is that each of these players are some of the best in their roles, and yet each left their egos at the door for the good of the common sound.

The five players do meld incredibly well, and the music sounds both like Ohm: and live Umphrey's (a la their recent Jimmy Stewart 2007). The result is often heavier than Ohm: (which of course ex-Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland slips into effortlessly) and more complex harmonically and rhythmically than Umphrey's (which UM drummer Kris Myers navigates brilliantly). Interestingly, Jake Cinninger still seems to be taking the leadership role that he also holds during Umphrey's live shows. Even more surprising is the prominence of Ohm: bassist Robertino Pagliari. Many of the musical ideas seem to have evolved between Pagliari and Cinninger with Poland and UM keyboardist Joel Cummins contributing mainly additional coloring and solos.

One of the highlight tracks of the album is "Denny's By the Jail" during which we actually get a taste of the guitar duel one would have expected from the combination of players involved. While on the album as a whole, Cinninger seems more comfortable, on this track Poland puts down some of the most insane licks he's ever recorded. Cinninger for his part plays some great solos in response, but he's merely an amazing guitarist, and sounds like one. Poland, as usual, sounds like he's playing a different instrument than the rest of us (save maybe Holdsworth) and when he's hot on this album he's a blazing sun. However, there are places where he seems to be searching a little bit, and to be certain Cinninger has a wider range of textures to add in accompaniment. (On the mentioned track he actually plays a very Meshuggah-ish riff in a song that starts very gently before hitting its main thematic chug.)

Not everyone is going to catch the "warts" on this one as the musicianship is unbelievably high, but there are plenty of them. This shouldn't be surprising given that the album is essentially a highlight tape of two days of jamming in Poland's studio. While the songs have some very basic themes, sometimes a just a groove or a riff or a progression, the majority of the music evolves through the interaction of the players (Umphrey's live standard.) To be sure, the addition of Poland and Pag has upped the ante, and this album is a huge step up from very good Jimmy Stewart. In some ways, UM must wish they had the Ohm: guys available permanently.

Part of me wishes the guys had more time to refine, to compose just a little bit more, to record a few more takes, to sift just a little harder. The high points on this album are phenomenal, and maybe those would have been lost if the project was more polished. To be clear, even the lulls here are very good music, and the highlights will spin your head. It could have been more, and maybe that will come. But for lovers of modern jazz fusion, and certainly fans of either band, this is an excellent disc. Enjoy.

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