If my reviews of the past few weeks are any indication then it would appear that 70s’ progressive jazz fusion is making something of a quiet comeback. My latest review for the CD “Sessions” from the Cleveland based jazz fusion unit RARE BLEND was reminiscent of the early albums by the group BRAND X – back when Phil Collins was pounding the skins - and now with this new album “Kilimanjaro Secret Brew” by 3rd WORLD ELECTRIC we have a group re-visiting the type of sax dominated fusion created by German multi-instrumentalist Klaus Doldinger and his incredible 70s’ jazz ensemble PASSPORT.
3rd WORLD ELECTRIC is another of the many side projects by FLOWER KINGS guitarist Roine Stolt and bassist Jonas Reingold. But unlike other progressive rock side projects such as TRANSATLANTIC, KARMAKANIC, TANGENT, AGENTS OF MERCY, and CIRCUS BRIMSTONE this time Stolt and Reingold have opted to explore what they consider the unfashionable label of “fusion”, with an homage to masters of the genre such as WEATHER REPORT, RETURN TO FOREVER, MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, HERBOE HANDCOCK AND THE HEADHUNTERS, BILLY COBHAM and GEORGE DUKE.
Ironically the mirror image of 3rd WORLD ELECTRIC is PASSPORT, a once popular German fusion group they neglect to mention in their press release. And as a rabid aficionado of that group I can tell you “Kilimanjaro Secret Brew” has more in common with the early PASSPORT albums “Cross-Collateral”, “Second Passport”, “Looking Thru”, “Hand Made”, and “Infinity Machine” than anything you’ll hear on a MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA recording.
That said, I can think of no greater compliment then to suggest “Kilimanjaro Secret Brew” is comparable to the great work of Doldinger’s PASSPORT during the most creative period of their career.
“Kilimanjaro Secret Brew” does not break new ground nor do the members try to re-invent the genre, they simply re-create the kind of kinetic raw energy that made those early 70s’ recording so appealing … excellent compositions, melodic sax leads without those annoying squonking squeals, intricate synth and guitar interplay, and a toe-tapping groove sure to put a bounce in your step and a smile on your face.
To pull this off Stolt and Reingold assembled a talented international cast of players including: Karl Martin Almqvist (Tenor and Soprano saxophone), Lalle Larsson (piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, and synthesizers), Zoltan Csorz (drums), Dave Weckl (drums), and Ayi Solomon (congas & percussion). Together with Roine Stolt (guitars, Fender Rhodes electric piano, Clavinet, MiniMoog), and Jonas Reingold (bass and additional synth) they make up the members of the astounding jazz fusion group 3rd WORLD ELECTRIC.
I highly recommended “Kilimanjaro Secret Brew” for fans of energetic jazz fusion.
8 out of 10 Rating
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on January 17th, 2010