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Miller, Phil, with In Cahoots: All That

Many of you will no doubt recognize the name of Phil Miller, famed guitarist from many classic 70's UK jazz-fusion and Canterbury groups such as Matching Mole, Hatfield & the North, and National Health. Miller put together In Cahoots back in 1982, and since then the band has seen a few different line-ups, now consisting of Fred Baker (John Etheridge/Ric Sanders Band) on bass, Elton Dean (Soft Machine, Soft Works, Centipede) on saxes, Peter Lemer (Mike Oldfield, Gilgamesh, Piere Moerlin's Gong) on keyboards, Jim Dvorak (Keith Tippett) on trumpet, and Mark Fletcher (Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Gilmour) on drums. Add in Miller's fiery guitar work and you have a lean, mean, jazz rock machine.

The lead-off track, "Black Cat", is a smoldering fusion romp, with Dean and Millers melodic lines inter-weaving with amazing precision and Lemer's jazzy keyboards adding the right amount of texture and atmosphere. The virtuoso nature of Fletcher's drum capabilities first really become apparent on the second tune "Big Dick", as he blasts away with reckless abandon while Lemer lays down intricate piano passages that give way to some muscular trumpet screams from Dvorak. "Inca" is a Phil Miller penned tune, a less frantic piece that sees the guitarist inject his trademark tasty solos over a funky groove. Dean asserts himself here as well, as his acrobatic sax just soars above Lemer's jazzy electric piano vamps. I was reminded of Nucleus on the 13-minute "Sleight of Hand", a real classy fusion number with some great emotional melodies from Dean, showing once again how underrated of a player he really is. Quirky Canterbury can be heard on the bouncy "Upside", featuring great piano and horns, while the yearning lead bass work of Baker can be heard on the straight jazz of "Out There", another gorgeous number from Miller. The CD's wildest and most progressive tune is the near 9-minute closer "Your Root 2", kicking off with futuristic synth blips from Lemer, then settling into a fusion romp with funky grooves and intricate horns. Fletcher once again steals the show with some manic rhythms on this one, as he pounds furiously while Dvorak, Lemer, and Baker take solo turns.

For a delicious slice of contemporary fusion from the UK, you can't go wrong with All That. Even though this is Phil Miller's band, he in no way tries to overshadow the rest, and it comes off as a real group effort where everyone contributes. Highly recommended!

Added: September 28th 2003
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Cuneiform Records
Hits: 3049
Language: english

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