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Scott Henderson

People Mover

Review by Gary Hill

Scott Henderson is a great fusion guitar player. You might expect that his music, therefore, would be nothing but an excuse for guitar soloing. That's very far from the truth, though. Sure, he gets to show off quite a bit, but the song is always the point. Both bassist Romain Labaye and drummer Archibald Ligonniere put in powerhouse performances,  This lands under progressive rock because that's where we usually put fusion, so make no mistake, it's pure fusion. It's also purely potent.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Transatlantic
This is a killer fusion powerhouse. It has some pretty awesome shifts and turns. The guitar sound is the diving factor, but you can't discount any piece of this sonic picture.
Primary Location
I dig the cool jazz groove of this number. The shifts and changes and almost Crimsonian guitar riffing are intriguing, too. This has some great contrasts and some of the turns seem come with abrupt, yet adept, precision. I really dig the mellower interlude with bass soloing later in the piece. It adds something special.
All Aboard
This is just a short little live recording thing that's mostly about the crowd sounds.
People Mover
Sounds that seem to be based around a literal "people mover" begin this. The cut works out from there in a killer fusion jam. I really love some of the guitar work on this thing. it's purely on fire and some of the most powerful of the whole disc. That's really saying a lot.
Satellite
Seeming to careen this way and that, this is another powerhouse fusion jam. It's less straight-forward and more freeform than some of the rest here. It's no less potent.
Blood Moon
Blues guitar type stuff is at the heart of this as this begins. The cut has all kind of other sounds in the mix, though, creating an otherworldly kind of trippiness to it. After the one-minute mark it shifts direction. The cut rebuilds into something intriguing as it climbs back upward. It eventually works out to some seriously rocking zones as it drives forward.
Blue Heron Boulevard
Trippy mellower fusion textures are at the heart of this number. The bass really brings something special to it. There is some cool exploration at the heart of this number. This thing has some particularly cool guitar playing, too. While tone-wise it's less than explosive, the riffing is no less incendiary. This might land on the mellower end of the spectrum compared to some of the other pieces, but it's no less passionate or powerful.
Syringe
As this rises up with an almost metal fury, it's obvious that's it not on that mellow end of the spectrum. It turns toward more freeform fusion styled stuff as it continues. That said there is still an almost blues rock thing built into a lot of this. The bass work is impressive and often brings some funk to the table. The guitar playing gets so fiery.
Happy Fun-Sing
I love the cool jazzy meets prog groove of this number. The organ sound brings a retro texture. The guitar on this number somehow seems especially expressive. The other instruments lay down a very cool jam, too.  I really love the bass jamming on this.
Fawn
Starting with intricate instrumental work, this cut works out from there in classy ways. As it gets more of rhythmic groove and some electric guitar, this works into some powerful fusion. This is of the mellower variety in terms of volume level, but definitely not in terms passion or virtuosity. We are taken through some intriguing shifts and turns before it's all over.
 
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