Jazz Pistols, 3 on the Floor (53:58)
Lipstick Records LIP 8959-2, 1997 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cyberhome: www.jazz-pistols.de This German fusion trio is comprised of guitarist Stefan Ivan Schäfer, bassist Christoph Victor Kaiser, and drummer Thomas Lui Ludwig, all of whom are highly skilled, powerful musicians. Recorded in 1996, 3 on the Floor does them justice with high-quality production and a set of challenging, energetic compositions. Schäfer and Kaiser do most of the writing, both collaboratively and individually, coming up with fiery funk grooves and dizzying ensemble cohesion on tunes like "Three on the Floor," "Take the Brake," and the furious 9/8 workout "Tough Stuff." They’re more delicate and pop-jazzy on "Yellow Fellow," "Second Feeling," and parts of "Relax Max," however.
Schäfer can leap out with supercharged distortion, but he tempers his attack with a thoughtful, crisp musicality — think Steve Vai meets Wayne Krantz with a dash of John Scofield. Kaiser’s six-string bass work is reminiscent of Anthony Jackson, yet he and the group show their allegiance to the late, great Jaco Pastorius on an infectious cover of "Teen Town," the final track. His contrapuntal passage at the end of "Yellow Fellow" is one of the album’s finer moments. Ludwig is a strong, versatile fusion drummer who anchors the band through all its shifting styles. ~David R. Adler 1. Three on the Floor 2. Yellow Fellow 3. Tough Stuff 4. Seven Up 5. Second Feeling 6. Picard 7. Take the Brake 8. Boodubudubop 9. Relax Max 10. Bad 15 11. Teen Town Stefan Ivan Schäfer, guitar; Christoph Victor Kaiser, bass; Thomas Lui Ludwig, drums Jazz Pistols, 3 on the Moon (54:05) Lipstick Records LIP 8965-2, 1999 E-mail: email@example.com Cyberhome: www.jazz-pistols.de Similar in spirit to the Jazz Pistols’ previous effort, (3 on the Floor), this one has a bigger and clearer sound. The guitar/bass interplay of Stefan Ivan Schäfer and Christoph Victor Kaiser is more fully developed, especially on the moody original "Mystic Train." There are more covers this time around: "Blues for Gordon" is by Bela Fleck, "Spain" is of course by Chick Corea, and "Birdland" closes the album with another Weather Report cover. ("Teen Town" closed the prior album.) One of the songs from 3 on the Floor, "Second Feeling," returns as a vocal feature for a singer known as Rosevelt. The song makes a decent pop/R&B track, schmaltzy lyrics and all, but it’s a bit jarring in this context. Of the originals, "Moby Dick" opens the album thunderously, and "Beast" also kicks, yielding the floor to Schäfer for some potent guitar-shredding. "Man In the Woods" begins with some of the band’s prettiest writing to date, but the pop-jazz tune that ensues is a bit of a let-down. And "Happy Hour" is a fun Latin romp, with some high-velocity clean soloing by Schäfer.
The Jazz Pistols may not appeal beyond a core group of diehard fusion fans, but their musicianship is undeniably excellent, and their writing packs punches and surprises that multiply with each record. ~David R. Adler 1. Moby Dick 2. Blues for Gordon 3. Mystic Train 4. Spain 5. Man in the Woods 6. Beast 7. Happy Hour 8. Second Feeling 9. Birdland Stefan Ivan Schäfer, guitar; Christoph Victor Kaiser, bass; Thomas Lui Ludwig, drums; Rosevelt, vocals (track 8)
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