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Natural Selection by Tunnels

Within the wide world of jazz, there are many paths that one can take. Some may lead you to sunny streets, another will lead you to a smoke-filled nightclub. Other paths show you a way to the caves and caverns of the underworld. That is where you will find Tunnels. Once you are inside the tunnels, you must be very careful. It is extremely easy to get lost. The tunnels are dark and slowly winding. Sharp jagged edges poke out at you and the rough, unbalanced ground makes it hard to keep your footing, but like anything that is risky and mysterious, it is also exhilarating.

Natural Selections is the 5th release for Tunnels and we find them returning to the classic trio format with the "new guy" John O'Reilly Jr. on a very heavy rockin' drums. O'Reilly must have been a "natural selection" for this trio, as he fits in perfectly with bassist Percy Jones and his slappin' and poppin' and down right funkin'-it-up style. Jones could work within any funk, hard rock group and be a welcomed asset. Percy's wide range and immense talent has already taken the artist through different bands, such as Brand X, Phil Collins, Brian Eno and Suzanne Vega to name just a few. Together, Jones and O'Reilly make a rock-solid rhythm section that maybe more comparable to John Paul Jones and Bohnam than Ron Carter and Tony Williams, but I am sure Tunnels is not concerned with being a "standard" jazz group.

Marc Wagnon is somewhat of an enigma of sorts. I would personally consider him the "Jimi Hendrix of the midi vibes." I was a bit skeptical at first about a jazz trio without a piano or even a saxophone, but Wagnon somehow takes care of it all. Wagnons' style is refreshingly new, innovative to the point of pure brilliance. He has a technique and a dead-on feeling that can be described best in the words of Chuck Berry, "just like ringing a bell."

Together they are Tunnels. Together they will take you through tunnels to new worlds, places you never knew about, even places you might be a bit afraid of. My favorite track on Natural Selection is "Devils' staircase," which by the way is a most appropriate title. You feel as if you are walking or being pulled down a long dark winding staircase to meet the Devil himself. All I can say is thank you Tunnels.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Tunnels
  • CD Title: Natural Selection
  • Genre: Fusion
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Buckyball Records
  • Rating: Four Stars
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