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Airto Stanley Clarke Jan Hammer Billy Cobham

Airto Stanley Clarke Jan Hammer Billy Cobham image Airto Stanley Clarke Jan Hammer Billy Cobham image
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& zr & v S mfF ►. ' & fr # 4 v 4P rft Airto Moreira, Identitv Arista); Stanley Clarke, iil'v to Love fNemporor); Jan Hammer, The First Seven ys fNemperor); obham,l Funky Thide oj Sings (Atlantic). When I got this quartet of sides to chcw jvcr, I laid my cash on Stan Clarke, fïgured Jan Hammer would run a strong second and that Airto would nose out Billy Cobham at the wire tor show money. Weil, as it turncd out, Airto led trom the first turn, Stanley ran an asthmaii' second and as lar as I know Jan and Billy are still on the track trying to rind the ish line. So spin the - Fates when my money's on the line. Airto Morcira is simply a joyi'ul player. He's teamed up with Herbie Hancock to produce this album, "Identity," dnd the results are bcautiful. It docsn t sound "produced" and that's no mean trick with Herbie at the dials. The songs asscmbled hcre are strongly flavored by Airto's Builian musical heritage. The rhythms diange seamlessly and with seeming spontaneity, though this mtisic is tightly arranged. The textures are light, almost dreamy. All this and melody to boot. Mercy! "Wake Up Song," with Wayne Shorter's hauntingly mellow soprano saxophone and Airto's equally expressive vocal is the song that still sticks to my ears trom the first listening. Raúl Desouza plays a luscious trombone and there's some lovely vocal work by Hora Purim on "Tales l-'rom Home." Airto's percussion provides real dimensión throughout and never sounds arbitrary or tacked on. TIiis album oozes with the best of two musical continents i'used together and is always surprising in its otigmality. Stanley Clarke's new album, "Journey to Love," him to be a young bassist with a lot of technique and a head packed with Chick "Corean" ideas. TIiis album features him in a variety of tings, both electnc and acoustic, all seemingly influenced by his fruitful association with Chick and their "Return to Forever" eroup. "Song to John," dedicated to the late John Coltrane, is a driving, blowing, fully acoustic romp of a tune written and played by Stan and Chick along with Mahavishnu John Laughlin on guitar. Stan really powers the tune, which, lackine a drummer, is no easy task. His solos are lyrical and melodie while his accompaniment is mindful of Mingus' rhythmic fire, though his tone is fatter and richer than the maestro's. "Concerto for JazzRock Orchestra" is a sprawling piece whose conspicuos lack ot' thematic unity calis into question its statusas a concerto. What it sounds like is about a dozen leftover, mediocre funk and rock licks pasted together, none quite mean enough to build a tune around. It sounds likc f'un for them, though, and it does have its occasional moment-.. Therc is a nice, choice piece of fat, l'unk muscle callcd "Silly Putty," with some vicious electric bass playing from Stan. U's followed by a song talled "Journey to Love," which is a pleasant enough tune if you aren't frightened by the lyrics, which are about eternity and returning to forevei. Jan ííammer has taken it upon himself to recreate the creation of the world on lus album "The lirst Seven Days." It's an amhitious album and sincerely conceived, but l there's an impersonal feell cont. on pase 21 J - ■ ■ m Record! continua from page 1 7 to it. J he album is primarily Hammer piaying synthesizers, digital sequencers', etc. Although one marvels at Ihe wealth of texture and variety ol ellects he luis discoveied thiough these toasters, &raeliow the human element lias escaped. One can't reaily sense the role he pÉyed in his moment of ctealton. lt's hke a tour through the lord Faetory. There are compelling moments and il yoo are alter a dramatic. piogiammatic sound, thit album surely won't let you down. Or t you want a good lest record tor your stereo, it's immaeulately prod u eed. Billj ('obhain is funky as they come and as soulfal as .in Oedipus-ing drummer can et. Unfortnnately, Billy is one of the bustest studio drummers around and he's been accidüntally tistenifig to the stuff and letting it atleet hini. Because that's what this "Funky 'Ilude of Sings" sounds like: studio funk. Yoo couidn't even ei lien Slote to dance to this stuft and tbat cat's boon known to Mrut to Rice Krispics jingles. I mn 't even gonna mention the fact ihat there's a len-niinute drum solo on this album along with a liner note lo the amaed multitudes: "No overdubbtag was osed." Hey. I don't care it they use a thousand tracks t thcy can make tliis stuff coofc. There is a song ealled "Moody Modes" wliteli is a rare oasis of beauty on this otherwise arid offering. It's composed and arranged hy some1 one ealled Milcho Leviev atui is worth hearing. The rest of the songs are arranged bv Billy, ulio should stick to ius sticks.