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Phillips, Simon: Protocol III

There can be no doubting this man's resume. Drummer Simon Phillips has worked with a myriad of artists including Tears For Fears, Pete Townsend, Mike Oldfield, Judas Priest, Michael Schenker, Jeff Beck, Nik Kershaw, Jack Bruce, David Gilmour, Jon Anderson, and many others. Of course he has also been Toto's drummer since 1992. He first solo album Protocol was released in 1988. Protocol III is the third in the series and the follow up to 2014's Protocol II. Joining Phillips are Andy Timmons (guitars), Steve Weingart (keyboards) and Ernest Tibbs (bass). The music straddles progressive rock, pop and jazz, making for a delightfully modern fusion album coated with a glistening production that adds a certain slickness to the band's sound.

The album kicks off with "Narmada", an energetic slice of jazz fusion with razor sharp stabs of lead guitar and heavy percussion. The tablas, courtesy of Satnam Singh Rangotra, add a certain world vibe. "Imaginary Ways" is an excellent prog fusion tune with the drumming and guitar work getting heavier as the music progresses. "Outlaw" is a heavier piece brimming with intensity as Timmons' slow burning guitar churns throughout the song's six minutes. The rocking fusion of "Catalyst" showcases Weingart's stellar keyboard flourishes while "Amrita" is a more laid back chill out piece with crystal clear guitar and Phillip's crisp drums. The tempo does pick up as Timmon's guitar soars, the rhythms crash and Phillip's drums become more forceful. Then it's back to breezy grooves once again. Really, all four musicians shine throughout these eight tracks, which incidentally, were all penned by Phillips. Phillips also produced, engineered and mixed the record further demonstrating his talents in the studio.

Phillip's has set the fusion bar high with Protocol III, thus earning an excellent four stars. Released on Phantom Recordings.

Track Listing:
1. Narmada (5:43)
2. Imaginary Ways (7:02)
3. Outlaw (6:05)
4. Catalyst (6:27)
5. Amrita (7:23)
6. Circle Seven (8:01)
7. You Can't But You Can (8:45)
8. Undercover (6:57)

Added: July 2nd 2015
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 2067
Language: english

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