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Return from the Unknown by Rick Drumm and Fatty Necroses

Business executive for D'Addario & Company (strings) and drummer, Rick Drumm equates the album moniker and band name to his survival and ordeal with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. And 25% of all proceeds from the album will be donated to the "Strike A Chord" foundation: A largely upbeat album, featuring prominent jazz artists lending their wares, the program circles back to the infancy of jazz-fusion, performed with a contemporary sound and approach sans any overcooked technical gymnastics.

As a drummer, Drumm focuses on leadership, textural slants and acutely placed dynamics. You won't hear Billy Cobham (Mahavishnu Orchestra) type polyrhythmic bombs as the band fuses more of a streamlined jazz element into the picture, abetted by highs, lows, and groove-centric pieces. They throttle the flows and pitch amid high-impact solos by powerhouse saxophonist Frank Catalano, for example. With the formidable dual guitar attack of Corey Christiansen and Fred Hamilton to complement the three-man horn section, the production offers a multifarious slant on the fusion genre, containing warmth, climactic opuses, and in-the-pocket cadences.

Drumm lays down a firm rock pulse during "Indi Funk," to set the stage for the guitarists' distortion tinged guitar parts and some blustery trombone lines by Mike Brumbaugh, segueing to the hornists' tightknit unison choruses, shaped with an Indo-funk topping. No doubt, the musicians project a feel-good vibe, yet get down and dirty on the towering guitar-heavy blues piece "Not Whatever." However, on "Detours," Axel Tosca Laugart imparts a Miles Davis fusion era electric keyboard sound, generating memories of either Chick Corea or Joe Zawinul's darting notes, touched with a rough-hewn shade of darkness.

The musicians receive copious soloing opportunities, including the snaky "Pulled Pork Sandwich," where Memphis style horns and a peppery New Orleans shuffle beat carve a path for Catalano's popping lines and Pete Grimaldi's expressive muted –trumpet voicings. It all culminates in an unfettered sense of optimism. And they close it out on a somber note with the drifting ballad "Return."

Drumm doesn't reinvent the wheel. More importantly, he intimates a holistic view of the jazz-fusion genre with a solid track mix that sustains interest, partly due to the artists' emphatic soloing spots, alternating rhythmic currents, and divergent compositional approach. Drumm also utilizes the group-centric methodology to the utmost degree, as everyone gets their day in the sun during the buoyantly moving parts.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Rick Drumm and Fatty Necroses
  • CD Title: Return from the Unknown
  • Genre: Fusion
  • Year Released: 2011
  • Rating: Five Stars
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