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TransFUSION by Art "Spike" Schloemer

Keyboardist, composer and arranger Art "Spike" Schloemer is most obviously influenced by musicians like Joe Zawinul and Jan Hammer.  Schloemer is, like Zawinul, a true technical master, and like Hammer, has a lilt in his compositions that make them more than pleasing vehicles.  Schloemer's incredibly nimble fingers fly throughout the recording, and he puts them to good use in this collection of high powered, highly percussive fusion.

 The opening track, "Concussion," drives with the power of Ferrari racing machine.  Dennis Chambers' drumming is powerful and pedal-to-the-metal.  Just trying to keep up with Chambers had to be a challenge, but on this up tempo, more than spirited composition, Schloemer is equal to the task.

 Things cool down a bit, but just a bit, on "Space Flight."  The fast scalular runs ala Al Di Meola, are handled with taste and a distinctive cutting brilliance.  "Distant Horizon" is a delightful Hammer-ish composition that melds moments of Zawinul's world music post-Weather Report phase into the mix.  The off-beat syncopated melody bops along at a spritely pace with excellent and tight bass and drum work accompanying the lines in glorious tumult.  Schloemer's cascading solo lines rise and fall in perfect complement.

 Throughout the entire disc Schloemer proves himself a more than capable composer of electric jazz at the highest level, and as a soloist he establishes himself as a thoughtful and exciting technician.  If there is a down side it's that at times Schloemer's not always totally focused in his solos, such as on "For Joe," and sometimes his ample technique sometimes gets in the way of stating concise conceptions, as on "Challenge Day."  For those who thought great electric jazz, or tightly constructed progressive rock of the 1970s and 80s was gone forever, this disc will restore your soul.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Art
  • CD Title: TransFUSION
  • Genre: Fusion
  • Tracks: Concussion, Space Flight, Distant Horizon, Sentimental Journey, Good Times, Challenge Day, Brain Fever and For Joe
  • Musicians: Art "Spike" Schloemer (keyboards), Scott Henderson (guitar), Bunny Brunel (bass), Hadrien Feraud (bass), Dennis Chambers (drums), Kirk Covington (drums), Bob Franceschini (saxophone)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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