New Music

VINNIE COLAIUTA, ROBBEN FORD, JIMMY HASLIP
JING CHI
TONE CENTER

Here's an album that revives the supersession instrumental recordings of the '60s and '70s, the era when Miles Davis' revolutionary Bitches Brew and Tony Williams' ground-shaking Life Time streaked the sky like comets among a universe of dead stars. Robben Ford leads his longtime musical buds—lefty six-string bassist and Yellowjackets founder Jimmy Haslip and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta—with daunting guitar bluster even by his standards, moving from the irascible wah-wah fury of "Tengoku" and the fusionistic, Allan Holdsworth-nodding "Aurora" to the cleaner blues/funk Tele-scapes of "Man in the Ring" and "Crazy House" (the latter a wicked one-take slam cut in Vinnie's loony domicile). Haslip, who also produced the album, righteously describes some of these takes as "esoteric, alternative, atmospheric vibe music." That's not to say you need to dose in order to squeeze all the juice from these jam-oriented tunes. Deep groove safaris like "Stan Key" and "Going Nowhere"—the only track Ford sings on—provide enough of an angular updraft for your consciousness to leave its perch. In between all the lava-lamp mind flotations are some anchoring harmonic handholds and sonorous hooks that arrive via Ford's squalling axe. He's a box-slinger at his absolute fiercest—perhaps because he has such a sick rhythm section pushing his ass. Jing Chi is a wild ride on a comet's tail. (C.J. Bahnsen)

 
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