HBC are guitarist Scott Henderson (Tribal Tech/Jean Luc Ponty/Elektric Band), bassist Jeff Berlin (Bruford/ABWH/Vox Humana/Passport/Allan Holdsworth/Kazumi Watanabe), and drummer Dennis Chambers (Santana/Mike Stern/Brecker Brothers/John Scofield/John McLaughlin/Niacin/Parliament/Funkadelic), three musicians who should be no strangers to anyone with a passing interest in jazz and jazz-rock fusion styles. The long list of legendary bands & artists that these guys have played with is staggering (see above for a very small sample), so you would have to image that this trio putting their skills together would make for some entertaining music right? The answer to that questions is a resounding YES!
Henderson's bandmate in Tribal Tech, Scott Kinsey, is along for the ride here helping out with production and what sounds like the occasional keyboard coloring and solo (though he's not credited as such), in what turns out to be a wild recording for all involved. Hearing Scott's sizzling jazz & blues rock licks running circles around the equally trailblazing bass grooves from Berlin, all while Chambers' busy stick work keeps it all in check, is just a joy to experience. The menacing, muscular opener "Actual Proof" shows just what these three bring to the table, offering up sizzling leads from Henderson and Berlin's acrobatic lines on a song that's all about the interplay & soloing but yet the tune is melodic and memorable. Wayne Shorter's classic "Mysterious Traveller" is majestic and atmospheric, chock full of Berlin's gorgeous bass lines and Henderson's dramatic soloing, while another of Shorters tunes "Footprints" (yes, plenty of Weather Report related tunes being covered here) is given a quirky, fun treatment, as Chambers and Berlin lock into a serious groove while Henderson unleashes a flurry of blazing jazz solos and complex chords. Once again dipping into all things Weather Report, the trio cover Joe Zawinul's "D Flat Waltz", a rumbling, groove laden affair led by Berlin's uncanny Jaco Pastorius inspired fretwork. Another dip into the Zawinul songbook is "The Orphan", again with Berlin delivering some stunning, melodic lead bass lines that are just magnificent, floating above some tranquil keyboard washes that provide the perfect backdrop.
Shorter's "Sightseeing" follows, and the band tears through this one with reckless abandon, as Berlin's walking bass line shimmers around Chambers' intricate fills & cymbal hits while Henderson unleashes a torrent of white hot shards of guitar mayhem. The trio delivers their first original song on the CD in the form of "Wayward Son Of Devil Boy", a blistering blues number featuring some scorching solos from Scott, and change gears for Berlin's piece "Threedom", a classical romp for the bassist to really show his dexterity on his instrument. The album closes out with a bombastic rendition of the Billy Cobham classic "Stratus", kicking off with Chambers' blazing intro and giving way to bubbling bass from Berlin and Henderson's raw, crunchy riffs and wild solos, as he seemingly pays homage to both Tommy Bolin and Jeff Beck. Listening to all three mixing it up at the finale is simply jaw dropping.
As one would expect, this is musical fireworks from start to finish, as these three virtuosos come together and provide an hour's worth of musical excellence for all fusion fans to enjoy and cherish. Highly recommended!
D Flat Waltz
Wayward Son Of Devil Boy