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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Keith Killgo

This World

Review by Gary Hill

This is kind of a unique CD. It’s an odd mix of music, but it works quite well. We get some live tracks along with some studio numbers. The vast majority of the disc is jazz, but it wanders between fusion and more traditional and even into jazz. Still, you’ll hear bits of prog rock type sounds here and also pure funk and R & B. It all works well – particularly if taken on track at a time. As a whole unit there seems to be a bit of a lack of a consistent texture. That’s the only real complaint here and it’s a minor one. You really only notice it if you sit down and listen intently. My advice, pick this disc up and kick back and enjoy. It’s more that type of experience, anyway.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Star Eyes
A jabbing, funky sort of groove leads this instrumental off and as the rest of the group enter they launch out into a cool fusion jam. The horn brings in a more pure jazz sound. They don’t stay there for long, though as this track just keeps moving and transforming, but it never looses its cool. This swings and sways and everyone gets a chance to strut there stuff in a great old school jazz journey. At over nine minutes in length, this is the second longest cut on show here and with as many changes and shifts as we get I can’t imagine a better opener. This Gene DePaul/Don Raye composition still holds up quite well.
Kojo Blues
The first portion of this is a rather odd duck. One might expect a pretty standard blues jam, but instead we get a piece of poetry read over odd ambient sounds (at least at first). Traces of the Twilight Zone theme song bring us into space rock for a time. Of course, this oddity only holds the piece for a time as they do shift out into a standard blues around a minute in. This one has a killer guitar solo, too.
Ladies Man
This Oscar Brown, Jr. number leads off as another blues track, but it shifts out more towards pure jazz. That said, the blues vibe still remains, it’s just augmented a bit. This is quite a cool piece and the lyrics are funny. It’s a bit funky at times.
Inner Urge
Back into more pure jazz territory, this instrumental (a Joe Henderson composition) veers and careens here and there in fine fashion. It’s got a definite fusion texture to it and reminds me at times of some of Frank Zappa’s work. This is a dynamic piece that’s not content to stay in one place for very long. It’s also the longest number on show here, clocking in at almost nine and half minutes. It’s a jazz tour-de-force. You’ll certainly be amazed at how tight the band is as they make their way through the changes and alterations on this powerhouse journey. This includes a great bass solo.
Round About Midnight
Here they turn their attention to the fertile ground of Thelonious Monk. They play it smooth and rather slow. It’s got a great jazz club texture and some cool, mournful wailing. This instrumental might be my favorite piece on show here. How can you go wrong when covering Monk, though? True enough, this is a great version to add to the power and charm of the source material.
Zane
The first of four originals that close out the disc, after a “good God,” we get percussion in a great little rhythmic pattern. The drums hold this unaccompanied – well except for one brief bit of bass – for over a minute and a half. I’m not a big fan of drum solos, but the tribal rhythms of this one sway nicely and hold the interest. The group fires out in a powerhouse, frantic fusion jam from there. At around the two and a half minute mark, this instrumental slows way down to take it to its conclusion. We get a little quick burst of funk that enters after the band is introduced, but this fades down to end.
Who Needs Love
Speaking of funk, this tune feels like something Earth Wind and Fire might have done. It’s quite an interesting piece, but perhaps not the best fit with the rest of the music here. That said, it’s easily the most accessible cut. This one rocks out pretty hard at times and we also get some great horn solos.

Sparkle Byrd
This has more of a smooth jazz texture, but also a more modern feel than some of the other music on show here. It’s got some vocals that are rather similar to the ones one the preceding track, but this doesn’t seem to cross over into the 80’s funk territory like that one did. This feels more like a catchy smooth jazz groove. It’s a great song.
This World
Rather funky, this has a cool jazz meets soul feel to it. Part of the lyrics on this are delivered in a spoken approach that feels somewhere between rap and beat poetry. For my money, this is the best cut on the disc. It’s got an accessible, yet very powerful sound to it. It’s a killer and worth the price of admission even if taken by itself. It’s no wonder it’s the title track – yeah, it’s that good!
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