Artist/ Band: Chad Wackerman
Title: Dreams, Nightmares and Improvisations
Label: Self release
Year of Release: 2012
Offical Artist/ Band Link

The Review:

First off, anyone put off by this looking like a drum solo recording needs to listen up. THIS IS NOT A DRUM SOLO CD. In fact, this is a beautiful release by the fine drummer who has played on many great musicians records since the 70's like Allan Holdsworth, Frank Zappa, and Andy Summers to name a few. He has had several solos before this one with a hand picked set of musicians. ďDreams, Nightmares and ImprovisationsĒ is a fully melodic, song oriented collection of compositions that could be another Allan Holdsworth CD. Fans will be happy to know the other musicians on this recording are Mr. wonderful himself, Allan Holdsworth (guitar, synthaxe, Starr Z-board), Jim Cox (keyboards), and the great Jimmy Johnson on bass. Holdsworth does some classic solo work and each musician is as strong as the other in performance.

As the title suggests, there is a variety of dynamics and temp in the tunes here. It begins with a beautiful piece, then comes a brisk jazz fusion cut that instantly gives you the nod of this being more of Chadís cool partly relaxing, otherwise butt kicking splice of rock, jazz, funk, ethnic and patches of world music. Itís heavy on Holdsworth which is always a good thing in my world. Wackerman never tries to show out or overplay despite the fact that he could demand the stage with it being his disc. That shows me time and time again his taste and professionalism. Thatís not to say he does not play some tremendous licks, and he plays simply beautiful on each track, but some reserve is used at all times. In fact, if I had any complaint, Iíd say he should have went bigger in some places, but thatís my compulsive side getting in the way.

Out of 14 songs, you canít help but be pleased with most of it unless you are anti jazz rock. They range from dreamy to crisp to somewhat intense. The music is a magic of improvised and composed and youíll rarely know which is which throughout. This is due to the high abilities of the musicians playing together. The melting of minds is incredible, as it should be. And for the record, Chad only does one drum solo on the whole recording, which is nice and only 2:32 (track 10 ĎRapid Eye Movementí). The first track is just drums, percussion, and samples but more an atmospheric intro with Asian theme and pretty melody. Track 11 (ĎBrain Funkí) would be the one of two cuts I wasnít crazy about but it gave Jim Cox some room to stretch on keyboards and the CD a decent bridge from the solo to track 12, which begins soft and meek, then rises into an excellent open jam with more Holdsworth burning lead guitar (one of the few places you can tell itís improvised). Track 13 (ĎTwo For Yaí) is the other song I didnít care for as it brings back the sleazy keyboard sound and funk mode. Seems Cox loves the funk and wah wah distorted keyboard sound. This tune is just Wackerman and Cox and I hate to say it, but Iíll be programming the CD to delete tracks 11 and 13. Otherwise, all songs are pleasing, excellent, and easy on the ears. The last cut is highly dreamy and only 1:36 so you just have a whiff of music. So with 53:23 you have twelve fine ones, and two funky throwaways. Not too bad for percentage in my book. I actually like this recording quite a lot and have always respected Wackermanís drumming. I have all his solos, and two DVDís of him and Terry Bozzio doing both solos and drum duets, which is interesting if you are a drummer or love drummers. There is no doubt that Chad is a superb drummer in his own right, and has played decades with some of the best progressive musicians in the world. While I personally donít like cheesy or some less arty forms of jazz funk (I love Quantum Jump and many bands like Passport, Bruford, Munju, Embryo, Release Music Orchestra , oh man this list could go on forever) I do love the concise and creative jazz fusion scored by musicians such as this. This is very well worth owning and itís a must for Holdsworth fans.

Reviewed by Lee Henderson on March 15th, 2012

Tracks:

01. Glass Lullaby 2:32
02. A New Day 6:59
03. Bent Bayou 4:00
04. Star Gazing 2:41
05. Edith Street 3:38
06. The Fifth 6:38
07. Waterways 3:08
08. The Billows 5:49
09. Monsieur Vintage 3:38
10. Rapid Eye Movement 2:33
11. Brain Funk 3:28
12. A Spontaneous Story 3:56
13. Two for Ya 2:44
14. Invisible 1:35

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