|Richard Groove Holmes & Ernie Watts
(c) World Pacific Jazz Records
The seemingly-nebulous line between rock and jazz, through it probably never will be erased, is getting fainter all the time. As the two musical genres fuse and come together, their individual labels... "jazz" and "rock" ... lose some of their distinctive meaning and become "good music."
This is such an album
It's a jazz album, if the backgrounds of the musicians involved dictates such a label. The keyboard pyrotechnics of Richard "Groove" Holmes have been known to jazz audiences for more than a decade. The jazz reputations of Wilton Felder, Dick Berk, Freedy Robinson, King Errison and Robert Norris are equally self-evident.
But, then again, the musical flow here transcends the nitche in which jazz is usually placed. It's, indeed, a grand "coming together" of both talent and technique; a true "super-session" of musical spontaneity ... not over-inflated egos.
"Come Together," the title track, sets the standard for the rest of the album; hip deep in infectious percussion, flowing rhythms and unusual colorings. Credit for the later can be attributed to the pioneering usage by Holmes and Watts of electronics; Holmes, with his Gibson Maestro System, which gives his organ the added sounds of fuzztone, split octaves and wah-wah and Watts with his Fender Orchestration-Plus unit on sax, giving him virtually the same choice of sounds, but with the addition of tape-delayed echo. The final result emerges not as an exercise in electronic gadgetry (as happens so often in rock) but as exciting, ever-changing "structured" improvisation.
The music here isn't for analyzation or intellectualization. It's for enjoyment. The musicians enjoyed the recording sessions (which, incidentally, went remarkably fast ... just two sessions) and as the listener, you can't help but swing to the beat. Even get up and dance.
When's the last time you danced to contemporary jazz?
Produced by Richard Block
Arranged by Ernie Watts
Engineer: John Anderson
Art Direction and Design: Ron Wolin
Photography: Howard Risk