I know I'm not the only one who was completely stoked to hear that Ozone Quartet had reformed last year. In celebration of the band once again joining forces, they have released this absolutely killer live set from Local 506 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina back in 2000. Let's get right to business, shall we!
Things kick off rather nicely with "Blackbone of Night", a highly melodic tune that features the soaring electric violin of Hollis Brown and the dexterious guitar work of Jeremy Shaw. The band goes for the jugular on the complex and rocking "Dragonfly", with Shaw's guitar weaving intricate lines with Wayne Leechford's Chapman Stick, while Hollis' violin simply wails manic leads. Continued aggression cries throughout "Mutoid Man", a very funky fusion piece that recalls vintage Mahavishnu Orchestra as well as King Crimson, with metallic guitar work, piercing violin, and complex rhythms. A more laid back fusion approach is shown on "Flood", which is a wonderful vehicle for Brown's melodic and emotional violin passages, and should appeal to fans of Jean Luc Ponty's 70's material. Check out Shaw's two quick yet gut wrenching guitar solos here, both providing a short and manic break from the otherwise majestic sounds of this highly appealing song.
The band goes for a slower, more grinding tone on the crunchy "Missing Link", thanks to Fran Dyer's pounding drum work and the heavy guitar riffs from Shaw, yet move right in to majestic Dixie Dregs territory with "Diamond Eye." Hollis Brown paints a beautiful landscape with her violin while Jeremy Shaw slowly builds in intensity with his guitar licks before screaming into the mix with a hot wah-wah laced guitar solo. Great ensemble work from the whole band can be heard on the symphonic "Surge", a wild ride that sees Leechford's acrobatic Stick work jumping over manic guitar & violin flights, supported by the nimble drum work of Dyer. Leechford and Dyer build a deep groove for Brown to pop in with her "peek-a-boo" violin lines on "The Watcher", and Leechford steals the show with his gymnastic Stick lines on the soaring fusion of "Stash." What better way to end this great set than with "Fresh Blood", a pulsating rocker featuring stabbing violin, chugging guitar riffs, and driving rhythms. Shaw's guitar solo here is masterful, with a big thick tone and tasty choice of notes, followed by an equally impressive and yearning solo from Brown.
This CD has been a long time coming, and will help warm the pallette for a new studio recording from this powerhouse band. Run and get this quickly, it doesn't get much better. An early front-runner for instrumental progressive fusion release of the year!
1) Backbone of Night
3) Mutoid Man
5) Missing Link
6) Diamond Eye
8) The Watcher
10) Fresh Blood