This 1975 high-powered fusion differs surprisingly little from the music that Jean-Luc Ponty has mostly played throughout the 1980s and ’90s. The violinist’s quintet (which includes guitarist Darryl Stuermer, keyboardist Patrice Rushen, bassist Tom Fowler and drummer Norman Fearrington) displays impeccable musicianship and lots of energy. The group was often so tight that the violin, keyboards, guitar and (to a lesser extent) the electric bass had similar tones, sometimes making it difficult to tell who was soloing at a particular moment. Listeners open to the sound of electronics and funky grooves should be very impressed by the spirited music which combines the adventure of jazz with the sound of rock. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
Kittyhawk – Islands
Chapman Stick, Guitar, Guitar [Fretless], Cello – Daniel Bortz (2)
Chapman Stick, Vocals – Paul Edwards
Drums, Percussion – Michael Jochum
Lyricon, Saxophone – Richard Elliot
Raymond Gomez – Volume
When listening to Volume, it soon becomes evident that Ray Gomez gets more soul, more feel, and more tone, than any other guitar player on the planet. Add in impeccable placed notes with “Albert King-like” timing, the album represents guitar playing that is hard to beat. Something else that needs to be said, Ray “rocks”. He is very keen on the groove within a song. Besides blistering leads, Ray keeps funk and rock groove rhythm in his playing. One could listen to Blues for Mez or West Side Boogie and say, “Well, there’s killer blues being played, funk being played, and a steady rockin’ groove. In essence, Ray Gomez is nothing short of a powerhouse. He gets more out of a guitar than is almost humanly possible, yet he does not overplay. Ray has the uncanny ability to play exactly what is needed for a song, yet with innovation, feel, and soaring power. U.S.A. is actually my favorite song on the record. It also establishes another front — that Ray is a damn good song writer and composer. Volume is a hidden gem that needs to be rediscovered. It’s still relevant and fresh today as it was when first released. Charles Wilson
Fusion 101 has been showcasing amazing new jazz-rock music from both independent and signed artists for a while now. You can hear these new artists daily, from 16:30-17:15 EST.
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