Instrumental outfit Cab has just released their latest offering, titled Cab4 (it's actually their third album, but hey, I'm not counting), a smoldering yet melodic contemporary fusion album bristling with musical virtuosity and excellent compositions. Alongside other groups such as Planet X (yes, Tony MacAlpine's in that one too!), Niacin, Spaced Out, and Tribal Tech, Cab are at the forefront of the current progressive fusion genre. Cab though relies less on metal leanings like Planet X, and goes for a more groove laden and swinging style, much like Weather Report or Chick Corea's Elektric Band & Return to Forever, yet still manages to drop in tons of chops that do not in any way come across as endless noodling.
In case you were wondering who makes up this juggernaut, that would be the previously mentioned MacAlpine on guitars and keys, Bunny Brunel on basses and keys, Dennis Chambers on drums, Brian Auger on Hammond B-3 & Fender Rhodes, and Patrice Rushen on piano, Clavinet, and Rhodes. Quite the formidable line-up you might say, and rightfully so. If you haven't head the band's previous two releases, fret not. Cab4 surpasses both of them in terms of tighter arrangements, better soloing, and catchier tunes. "Hold On" is a monster, with complex chops'o'rama from MacAlpine and Brunel, quite possibly the hardest rockin' tune on the CD. There's groovy cuts like "Shizuka", which showcases the Jaco-inspired bass work of Brunel, who effortlessly runs through gorgeous melody lines while Chambers locks in a tight rhythmic pattern. "Alphonse" and "Dede" allow Mr. Auger to really shine on the B-3 and Rhodes, proving once again why he is one of music's greatest treasures. Having Patrice Rushen around is a joy as well, as her majestic piano solos on "Jam & Toast" bring to mind the great work she did with Jean Luc Ponty in the mid-70's. This track is one of the barn-burners of the CD, where all players get to really smoke, but ironically it also has one of the more memorable melodies, proving that you can write a tune that is as catchy as it is chops heavy.
I could go on and on here, but really, this is 11 tracks of pure bliss from a group of players who are at or near the top of their class. MacAlpine simply gets better with each recording, and I think we all need to stand up and take notice of the talent that this man possesses. In all honesty, we can probably say that about this whole line-up. This is a monumental fusion experience-get out the credit card folks and order up!!!!