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Various Artists (Label Samplers) - The New Universe Music Festival 2010 CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Label Samplers)


Various Genres

4.00 | 1 ratings

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Easy Money
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Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars The New Universe Music Festival of 2010 is not only a great high energy fusion concert, but it is also a good sampling of what is happening in the world of fusion today. Seems like a lot of the greats in this genre are flocking to the Abstract Logix label, so when Abstract puts on a concert featuring their best acts, you are talking about some of the top fusion acts today. A lot has happened in jazz since the mid-70s, many styles have come and gone, but just as some musicians latched on to Bop for ever, so have many musicians latched on to the sound of classic 70s fusion as their music of choice for life. Most interesting of all are those musicians who work within this classic formula, yet find ways to bring something new. On this performance and CD, Ranjit Barot, Wayne Krantz and Human Element are the ones who bring the most new innovation and enthusiastic energy.

Ranjit Barot's band is on fire for their two numbers as they fuse Indian, African and classical music to make a huge tapestry of sound that mimics a small orchestra. Krantz guest solos on one song and shows why he is one of the hottest things going on guitar these days, plus he uses a very raw guitar sound with old school natural distortion and no chorusing or digital effects, ..right on. Special mention should also go to violinist Bala Bhaskar and his fierce Indian flavored improvisations. The following band, Scott Kinsey's Human Element, brings a lot of noise and joyful chaos to the mix that has been missing from fusion since Miles took a break in the mid-70s. His band is similar to the early days of experimental jazz rock, yet they do not sounded dated. Its nice to hear a band getting back to this kind of raw mix of rock, jazz and the avant-garde.

Disc two opens with Wayne Krantz's rockin trio playing the most modern set on here. Krantz and his crew mix a NYC flavored free funk ala Blood Ulmer with post-rock style guitar drones and lots of harsh change-ups. The star of this concert is John McLaughlin and he closes out things with his current band that mixes virtuoso post bop with funk and fusion to make a contemporary jazz style that has become McLaughlin's signature sound. Bassist Etienne M'Bappe is incredible and having guest percussionist extraordinaire Zakir Hussein on board doesn't hurt either. McLaughlin's guitar playing has improved considerably over the years and his high speed lines flow gracefully without the embattled struggle of his youthful playing. The highlight on the entire two CDs comes when McLaughlin's band drops out and leaves him to play a high speed duet with Hussein.

Although we have all heard our share of dull and lifeless fusion copycats since the peak days of the 70s, there is still some life left in this genre. The entire mood of this show is enthusiastic and energetic and this is reflected in the shouts from the audience as each band hits on a moment that really connects.

Easy Money | 4/5 |


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