For those of you that might be new to the wonderful talents of Indonesian guitar hero Tohpati, let's take a trip down memory lane to the time that you first heard John McLaughlin, whether it was during his stints in Tony Williams Lifetime, Miles Davis, or The Mahavishnu Orchestra. Do you recall the chills that went up and down your spine as you listened to that exciting English guitarist blaze up and down the fretboard of his guitar with the finesse of jazz and the power of rock? Well, toss in a little Scott Henderson, Jeff Beck, and Allan Holdsworth, and you have somewhat of an idea what to expect on Tohpati's latest release for MoonJune Records, Tribal Dance. Featuring the trio of Tohpati along with legendary musicians Jimmy Haslip (bass) and Chad Wackerman (drums), Tribal Dance is a blistering collection of jazz-fusion, progressive rock, and even some metallic riffing for those who like things on the aggressive side. All three players shine throughout, though this is certainly a 'guitar oriented' release.
"Rahwana" busts out of the gate in furious fashion, with Tohpati's blazing runs front and center just like a young, hungry McLaughlin, while "Spirit of Java" takes a more jazzy approach and lets all three players create some wonderful melodies and catchy grooves. The title track also weaves some hook laden passages, with Haslip dropping in an amazing bass solo as Wackerman and Tohpati lock in around him. You can't help but tap your feet to the delicious groove of "Red Mask", an ultra catchy tune complete with busy bursts from the guitarist. "Run" has more of a funk feel, Tohpati's crisp riffs smacking away over the locked in grooves from Haslip & Wackerman, and "Supernatural" ups the ante with some near heavy metal riffs and scorching lead guitar work over furious rhythms for a completely wild ride and one of the albums highlights. Closer "Mignight Rain" slows things down to a near crawl, with Tohpati's yearning lead lines sounding a lot like Jeff Beck as he makes great use of his whammy bar to deliver the emotional notes.
If you loved Dewa Budjana's recent release (another great Indonesian guitarist, and also on MoonJune), then Tohpati's Tribal Dance should be a no brainer purchase for you. These two players have some serious talent, and it's about time the rest of the world took notice.
Spirit Of Java 05:21
Tribal Dance 07:00
Red Mask 05:12
Midnight Rain 04:29