View (Jmlp) (Jpn)


aec.vjap9262857.2 6/15/18 New

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Review Text When drummer Chad Wackerman recorded The View for Germany's CMP label in 1993, real fusion wasn't as plentiful as it had been in the 1970s. Many A&R people seemed to want either formulaic smooth jazz/NAC artists or hard bop-oriented "Young Lions" in Armani suites -- if they weren't looking for the next Kenny G, they were looking for the next Wynton Marsalis. Nonetheless, worthwhile fusion was still being recorded -- it just wasn't as plentiful as it once was. The phrase "worthwhile fusion" easily describes The View, which falls short of remarkable but is a decent, respectable effort that features such noteworthy soloists as Allan Holdsworth (one of fusion's most respected guitar heroes), Jim Cox (keyboards, organ, piano), and Walt Fowler (flügelhorn, trumpet). Throughout the album, Wackerman shows himself to be a sensitive, intuitive drummer. When Holdsworth, Cox, or Fowler is taking a solo, Wackerman knows how to be encouraging. Of course, the fact that Wackerman (whose influences include Tony Williams and Billy Cobham, among others) wrote most of the material himself doesn't hurt. And that material is diverse, ranging from the cerebral ("On the Edge," "Black Coffee") to the romantic ("Starry Nights"). Not surprisingly, The View was totally ignored by NAC stations in the United States -- even something as lyrical as ("Starry Nights") was rejected by NAC program directors, who reasoned that their listeners only wanted to hear smooth jazz favorites like Najee, Richard Elliot, and Dave Koz. And that's a shame because there was a time when stations that played electric, non-straight-ahead jazz would have welcomed an album like The View, which demonstrated that real fusion could still be found in 1993 if you knew where to look for it. ~ Alex Henderson

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