Pickford and Hunt prove that fusion is not dead but a live wire of intensity as they improvise with great melodic sense and rhythmic interplay - including some South Indian rhythms and instrumentation. Fans of RTF, Weather Report, Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Jean Luc Ponty and Shakti will want to keep this CD in their favorite stash.
After listening to Blown Fuse, it becomes apparent why Lucas Pickford was featured in Bass Player Magazine with the MP3 of the month in November 2001. Peer approval of this scale must signal the weighing in of a new bass heavyweight champion. While grooving on his various basses or sarod, Lucas runs through a sound spectrum related to Jaco, RTF and his musical hero John McLaughlin, while remaining completely original and inspired. Pickford’s melodic sense is amazing and a great contrast to the current trend in bass performance where slapping has taken place of melodic adventure and pursuit of harmony. Steve Hunt has the touch and sound of a veteran fusion player not afraid to challenge himself or his fellow musicians like his tenure with Allan Holdsworth can testify.
The opening piece ‘Mysterious Passage’ has a very upbeat feel and processional melody with percolating bass and fretless textures. ‘Ikshvaku’ has the mystic sound of India in a programmatic setting full of tabla and a fretless bass performance that uses rhythm reminiscent of Kai Eckhardt or Jonas Hellborg. Hunt adds some retro synth textures to his modern tones. ‘The Croaker,’ has the percolating bass stylings of Jaco with some nasty odd-meter funk drumming from Steve Michaud and Holdsworth guitar touches from Tim Miller. ‘Arjuna Speaks’ is another Pickford composition that develops from the sublime texture of a South Indian meditative piece complete with fretless bass soloing and the constant tabla. Fans of "Desert Fun" from Stanley Clarke’s ‘School Days’ era will have fun with this piece.
‘Smatter’ adds some stoptime funk and bent note grooves from Pickford while hunt gets into some great keyboard sounds like lavinet and other juicy bits reminiscent of George Duke. ‘Blown Fuse’ simply defies the current trends of playing it safe or laying back - like you might expect from most smooth jazz or vocal music of 2002. Pickford and Hunt sing instrumentally and jam on each tune with a sense of adventure and intensity lost in most of the world or fusion music that is available today.
Fans of Shakti and Weather Report will be satisfied to hear the echoes of the past mingle with the future of fusion electronica. While listening to ‘Blown Fuse,’ I couldn’t help but smile at the intensity of the music and the performers who created such a great collection of adventurous melodies and rhythms. Be sure to check out the artists web sites for an interesting background listing and purchase link for ‘Blown Fuse.’ I’m sure we will be hearing more about Pickford & Hunt in the future with more electronic circuitry overloads.