Nail is the jazz-fusion band led by New York keyboard player Neil Alexander, and Tugging at the Infinite is their third official CD, originally released in 2007. Containing 8 instrumental tracks, 5 of which clock in at over 9 minutes in length, Tugging at the Infinite shows a fusion band who have plenty of chops but who also know how to put together songs that contain plenty of melody and atmosphere.
Opening cut "Earlier Still" is a dreamy piece driven by the busy drum work of Nadav Zelnicker, yet accentuated by some ethereal keyboards from Alexander. A more contemporary pop/jazz feel can be heard on "Starlight Casts No Shadow", complete with a tasty solo from Alexander, which to the casual ear might almost sound like a guitar before he rips into some funky clavinet vamps. Prog and fusion fans will love the 13-minute epic "The One That Got Away", a track featuring plenty of soloing, including some mean sax courtesy of Norbert Stachel. Alexander goes for the juggular on "Everyman", as he fires off some killer torrents of notes on the synthesizer, while "Bread-Man" is a more blues based piece with his keyboard again taking on the sound of a guitar. After the brief "In Memoriam", the futuristic yet soothing sounds of "While the City Dreams" follows, an excellent track that lets Alexander display his sense of melody as he layers in a wide assortment of sounds and textures. Closer "(At The) Water's Edge" is another funky fusion number that builds and builds in intensity, reminding of some of the late 80's/early 90's material you would hear on the old GRP label, especially from bands such as Chick Corea's Elektric Band, The Rippingtons, or Special EFX. Plenty of stabbing keyboard work from Alexander on this one over the top of some busy rhythms from the rest of the band.
Some cool stuff here that should please most fans of keyboard dominated fusion music. According to Neil's website he has now put Nail on hold indefintely to focus on new projects, so be sure to keep an eye out for this talented player, and in the meantime check out the Nail discography for some tasty jazz-fusion sounds.
1) Earlier Still
2) Starlight Casts No Shadow
3) The One That Got Away
6) In Memoriam
7) While The City Dreams
8) (At The) Water's Edge