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The Fusion Syndicate

The Fusion Syndicate

Review by Gary Hill

What an amazing set this is. It probably shouldn’t fit under progressive rock because it’s really more pure jazz fusion, but given the number of prog greats here, and the fact that fusion and prog are closely related, anyway, it seems as good a place as any for it. Whatever you call it, though, this is highly recommended for all fans of instrumental progressive rock, fusion and jazz. It doesn’t get much better than this. Even just the combinations of musicians playing together is worth buying this to hear.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Random Acts Of Science

What a lineup we get on this track, Rick Wakeman (Yes) Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra) Nik Turner (Hawkwind) and  Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets / Alan Holdsworth). They start it off almost feeling hard rocking at the intro, but then shift to more traditional fusion texture as they continue.

Stone Cold Infusion

There’s more of a smooth jazz vibe here, but this does have some cool switches and changes and alterations. The lineup includes Steve Stevens, Jordan Rudess, Mel Collins, and Billy Cobham. It’s another smoking hot slab of fusion.  There is some killer guitar soloing on this beast.

Molecular Breakdown

I love the bass groove here, but then again, it is Billy Sheehan. There’s some soaring guitar playing on this and we’re taken through a number of awesome variants on the piece. This includes Jay Beckenstein, Billy Sheehan, Gavin Harrison and David Sancious in the lineup. This is one of the most adventurous cuts here and one of my favorites on the disc. I like every bit of it a lot. Everyone seems to find the opportunity to shine, yet the flow and melody never suffer for it.

Particle Accelerations

There’s another awesome bass groove leading this off and they launch out into a jam that’s another of the highlights of the set.  This time around the lineup is Larry Coryell, Derek Sherinian, Eric Marienthal, Chick Corea and Chester Thompson. This is definitely another highlight of the set. There is some awesome and purely crazed jamming in this thing. It’s angular but still manages to groove.

At The Edge Of The Middle

Here’s another killer slab of fusion. It features Steve Morse, Jim Beard, Randy Brecker and Percy Jones. This is a cool tune, but not really a standout. That’s not because of any problem with it, but rather with the fact that everything else is so strong.

Atom Smashing

The groove is king here. This is another killer tune on a disc that’s so full of them that it sort of risks getting lost in the shuffle. The musicians on this one are John Etheridge, Tony Kaye and Chad Wackerman.

In The Spirit Of...

I like the rhythmic element to this piece a lot. It’s a cool tune that works well and has some great horn playing.  The lineup here includes Steve Hillage, Scott Kinsey, Theo Travis, Justin Chancellor and Asaf Sirkis.  There are some moments here that have some scorching soloing and yet there are also some smooth horn based sections in the midst.

 
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