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Graham Dechter

Major Influence

Review by Gary Hill

This disc was recorded by a quartet of musicians led by Graham Dechter who plays some amazing guitar. He's joined by Tamir Hendelman (piano), John Clayton (bass) and Jeff Hamilton (drums). I have included this under the progressive rock section as fusion, but that's a questionable landing. I think there is enough fusion here to qualify it, but it does lean heavily on more traditional jazz. However you categorize it, though, this tribute to Dechter's influences is classy stuff.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Orange Coals
Old school rock and roll and jazz merge on this number. It has some definite fusion elements at play, too. I love the little jabs of guitar sound on the tune. The whole thing grooves with style and charm. There is some killer piano work on this thing, too. The drum break is short but tasty.
Reference
I love the cool vibe of this thing. The track just has so much style. It's perhaps more mainstream jazz than fusion, but there are fusion edges. The whole arrangement really works, but the drums get to shine throughout a bit more than they did on the opener. We're taken through a few changes, and the whole number is just so effective.
Major Influence
A mellower and quite melodic jam, this feels like it has some Latin edges to it.
Moonithology
There is a playful groove to some of this. I love the walking bass line in later portions of the number. There is a section later where the bass gets to show off a bit. That's a little piece of magic for me.
Minor Influence
There is a bluesy kind of feel to this thing. This is one of my favorite numbers here. It's perhaps not the most fusion-like cut on the disc, but it really has so much style and charm. I love the bass showcase section on this number.
Pure Imagination
Slower moving and more tentative, this is no less effective. I really dig the expressive guitar work on this a lot. There is a pretty extensive percussion solo section later. Yes, this is the song from "Willie Wonka."
Bent On Monk
Now the fusion and creative angles really shine on this. It works into some almost freeform stuff that calls to mind King Crimson at points. It gets into more traditional jazz after a while in a pretty classy romp. The percussion break is cool, too. There is a cool experimental guitar exploration later, too.
Billy’s Dilemma
Frantic jazz jamming provides some intensely cool music here. The guitar playing really brings the fusion concepts home. This might be my favorite number here. It's seriously on fire at times. The piano really gets to shine on this thing, too. There is an insistent drum solo later, too.
 
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