DENNIS CHAMBERS/JEFF BERLIN/ DAVE FIUCZYNSKI/T. LAVITZ
Boston T Party
Tone Center (TC 40432)
All-instrumental collaborations between celebrated musicians have become hip, with marquee players pooling their talents and either hitting the road (as bassists Jeff Berlin, Stu Hamm, and Billy Sheehan will do this spring under the name BX3) or heading into the studio. That?s what Berlin, drummer Dennis Chambers, keyboardist T. Lavitz, and guitarist Dave ?Fuze? Fiuczynski did last September for what was no doubt an exhilarating recording experience.
For Boston T Party, the quartet assembled 10 highly listenable songs that exhibit intense levels of musical interplay while echoing the technical savvy of progressive jazz/fusion artists such as Weather Report, Frank Zappa, and Jeff Beck. Each player brings long and diverse resumes to the project, and each allows plenty of space for the music to evolve, especially on the groovy opener ?D?funk?d,? which is punctuated by happy-go-lucky keyboard flourishes at the midway point. A space-rock vibe on ?Around About Way? fuses into Fuze?s guitar, which talks better than some people, and ?I Hate The Blues? (But Here?s One Anyway)? boasts just enough percolating bass and peppy Hammond B-3 to keep it from getting too bluesy. Boston T Party picks up the pace as it goes, and the album crescendos with the late tracks ?Constant Comment? and ?Foxy Morons.?
Many of these songs are credited to Lavitz, who produced the record and is also known for his work with Widespread Panic and The Dixie Dregs. Still, it would be a safe guess ? given the pedigree of these players ? that much of the material was improvised. Indeed, tracks such as ?(Great) Ball Of Issues,? ?Deff 184? and ?Last Trane? lack balance and tend to sound self-serving. Although the album?s clean production recalls an earlier era in fusion, the quartet?s efforts to inject both aggression and passion into the music might appeal to younger fans of modern-day jam bands.