Drummer Martin Meheux’s CD Physics of Light
is his first solo project away from his work with the Montreal based progressive fusion band Spaced Out. The lines that distinguish progressive rock from jazz-fusion are easily blurred as both camps of artists have crossed genres in their evolution as modern musicians. Certainly, since the dawn of the 1970’s, the music of Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin, Chick Corea and a host of other musicians easily embraced in the jazz stream provide evidence of the influence that rock and funk have had on modern jazz. Likewise, the product of progressive rock groups like King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Yes, Gentle Giant, Rush, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer testify to the influence of jazz and other art music on rock. Physics of Light
fits very neatly in this miasma of classification. Meheux’s musical background is varied including studio work, playing with jazz-fusion bands, and his most recent work with Spaced Out. Physics of Light
is Meheux’s self stated return to jazz, and among the rather formulaic electronic programming, there certainly are jazz elements present in this music. Of particular note are the piano of Guy Dubuc and trumpet of Jean-Francois Gagnon whose playing at times brings to mind the playing of Dave Douglas. Also, Meheux’s drumming provides the necessary rhythmic underpinning that drives the ensemble.
While there are many interesting sounds on Physics of Light
and some very fine playing, Meheux’s compositions are fairly pedestrian. This is Meheux’s first solo venture, and one would think that out from under the creative "thumb" of others he has performed as a sideman, there would be some unique groundbreaking work here. Frankly there isn’t really anything here that hasn’t been done or isn’t being done by other musicians. This listener would also be hard pressed to recommend the CD as an outstanding recording and a valuable addition to a jazz CD collection, in that Meheux’s creativity also comes up short to only about thirty-five minutes of music. Not that quantity necessarily equals quality, however Meheux perhaps needs to understand the physics of consumer economics while exploring the physics of light. For going rate of around $15.00 for a CD, listeners would certainly like a better investment for their dollars.