The spirit of the late 60's-early 70's is alive and well within the grooves of the sophomore release from instrumental ensemble Jam Camp. Comprised of two guitarists, sax, bass, and drums, the music on Black Hills Jam rocks with tons of intensity and fire, culminating in a potent brew of jazz fusion, hard rock, prog, and extended jams. There's a lot of soul in these songs to go along with plenty of instrumental fireworks, so if technical proficiency mixed with melody and tasty grooves sounds appealing, this just might be for you.
There's plenty of variety on these seven tunes to please just about any listener. "Westside Highway" takes the best of Passport or Spyro Gyra, with sax player Steven Munger leading the charge, as he packs in an extended solo which is then followed by a blistering lead from David Broyles on guitar. It's a fun jazzy jam with a touch of funk that will really have you tapping your toes. For more aggressive action, check out the rampaging fusion of "Black Hills Jam", where Broyles and Michael "Smitty" Smith trade some fiery guitar solos, with Munger's sax also fighting for supremacy, or the rocking "Wormhole", which seems to be somewhat of a homage to Eric Johnson's old fusion band Electromagnets. You can also hear some bits of vintage Pat Metheny, as well as some of the bands from the ECM label on these two tracks.
"Trees" is a much more laidback, progressive number, with lilting guitar chords and Munger's pleading sax work, but the band changes gears totally on "Groove Monkey", a bouncy number more in the blues/funk camp, which features some neat whammy bar leads from Smith. Southern Rock fans will hear a little Allman Brothers/Lynyrd Skynyrd/Little Feat on the epic "Swamp Gas & Moonshine", which is highlighted by some serious slide guitar at the beginning before becoming a full-on jam, with the three soloists recklessly winding around each other and the furious rhythm section of bassist Jess White & drummer Joel Veatch locked in a tight groove. The tumultuous closer "Dangerous in Deed" brings to mind the Dixie Dregs at times with its complex rhythms, intricate lead work, and country flavor.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable CD from a hot instrumental group that has a lot to offer. Whether your gig is jazz, rock, prog, hard rock, or just good guitar music, this should satisfy your listening taste buds for weeks to come. Highly recommended!
1) Black Hills Jam (15:27)
2) Wormhole (4:23)
3) Westside Highway (7:03)
4) Trees (10:42)
5) Groove Monkey (8:39)
6) Swamp Gas & Moonshine (15:15)
7) Dangerous in Deed (7:50)