Dave Weckl is one of today's most versatile and technically accomplished drummers. In tandem with keyboardist Jay Oliver, he's also a proficient composer. After a year of touring, the band (which includes veteran guitarist Buzzy Feiten, saxophonist Brandon Fields, and bassist Tommy Kennedy) is cohesive and tight. . This is definitely a band projectall members contribute compositions; some songs are credited to four or all five members of the band. There's a lot more than just head-solos-head over a standard funk rhythm going on here. The compositions are intricate and the chord voicing are often interesting and complex. The opener, "High Life" is inspired by 12/8 rhythms from western Africa. "Swunk" gets its name from its combination swing/funk rhythmic feel. Guitarist Buzz Feiten displays his sensitive side on acoutic guitar on his ballads "A Simple Prayer" and "Where's My Paradise?" "Cape Fear" is one of the more "outside" pieces, with dark eerie chords, unusual eastern European harmonies, explosive drumming, and a cooking bass line and solo. The title cut is sort of a salsa/funk vehicle which provides some great solo space for each band member. The band ventures into 7/4 time on the funky "Lucky Seven." The disc's penultimate number is a solo drum piece called "Cultural Convergence," which features Weckl on various percussion instrument he acquired on his world travels during 1998. The disc closes with a cooking live update of "Tower of Inspiration," from Weckl's debut CD Master Plan . This version's called "Tower '99."
This CD comes highly recommended. There's great soloing, complex compositions, excellent band interplay, and a variety of styles. It's consistently engaging and reveals more with each repeated listening.
Track Listing: High Life; Panda's Dream; Swunk; A Simple Prayer; Cape Fear; Wet Skin; Synergy; Where's My Paradise?; Lucky Seven; Swamp Thing; Cultural Concurrence; Tower '99. (66:06)
Personnel: Dave Weckl--drums; Jay Oliver--keyboards; Brandon Fields--sax; Buzz Feiten--guitar; Tommy Kennedy--bass.