Saturday, February 7, 2015

Return to Return to Forever...

... well, more like Mahavishnu revisited, in little Dana Street Cafe in Mountain View CA, of all places. The proprietor, Nick Chaput, has some very musical friends, most notably the extraordinary drummer Scott Amendola, who brings some of his buddies in to play every few months. Last night it was a truly all-star quintet, including Jenny Scheinman on violin and the idiosyncratic guitar god, Nels Cline.

I'm usually not a big fan of fusion anything, but this was jazz-rock of a high order. Amendola is a master of freewheeling polyrhythmic pulse and swishingly propulsive brushwork, but he also loves to rock out and pound the skins. I might have preferred more pulse and less pounding, but what a joyful noise, especially when co-guitarist Jeff Parker ratcheted up the reverb, and you could feel the waves of overtones as they bounced around in the small space's humid atmosphere. Over to the left, lean and lanky Scheinman seemed a little lost and badly under-mixed during the first half, but she made up for it after intermission with a couple of ferocious Paganini-possessed solos, at sufficient volume. Across the "stage," Cline generally looked relaxed, his back against the cafe's front window, fingers flying, a man who can coax any sound in the world from an electric guitar. And in the middle, Amendola, having a ball.

1 comment:

  1. I forget which tune it was, but " swishingly propulsive brushwork" was definitely the case. I was very impressed.