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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Bob Holz

Visions: Coast To Coast Connection

Review by Gary Hill

We generally land fusion under progressive rock. That's because often the line between jazz prog and fusion is all about how much rock is included. Perhaps this one is a bit of a stretch for the prog banner, but again, it's all about degrees. What's not in question is the effectiveness of the music. If you like fusion (or even just modern jazz), you should give this a try. The musicianship is amazing. Of course, the fact that it lists Stanley Clarke as a very special guest will give you some indication of that. The whole cast of players here is impressive, though. The music is suitably potent to go along with that.

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Track by Track Review
Split Decision
With some pretty exceptional guitar work, this is a killer fusion number. It has a lot of pure jazz in the mix, too. I love the organ solo on the piece, too.
Espresso Addiction
This number is dedicated to the late, great Larry Coryell. It's a bit on the bluesy side of the equation. This one has some vocals in a great blues rock tradition. Still, the jazz is hardwired into the soul of the number. I love the guitar soloing on this (both distinctive flavors), and the cut has more rock music in it than the opener did.
Next In Line
A more thoughtful sound permeates this. It's more of a pure jazz thing. I love the bass work on the cut, but everyone puts in a great performance. I just happen to be a bass guy first and foremost. Besides, when it's Stanley Clarke, how can you argue? The bass really does form a lot of the magic here.
Jammin Man
The guitar and bass are probably the biggest stars on this cut. It purely is all about the jamming. There are some things about this that make me think of Frank Zappa quite a bit.
Richie's Trip
Now this jam does have a lot of progressive rock in the mix. There is some killer keyboard jamming on this. The blending of rock and jazz here is great. There are definitely some parts of this that feel a bit like the jazzy end of symphonic prog. Yet, there are other parts (particularly when the guitar is soloing) that remind me of The Allman Brothers.
Pink Fur
This has some seriously funky stuff in the bass department. The cut shifts and turns with some killer jazz and fusion stylings. It's one of the strongest pieces here. Given the competition, that says a lot. There are some cool twists and turns on this thing.
West Coast Blues
I love the horn soloing on this. That said, if you listen to the bass work, it's pretty awesome, too. That's clearly true of the solo section, but it really shines throughout. This whole thing is just built on such a cool groove. It's a lot of fun.
Light & Dark
A bit more of a mellow, sultry kind of groove starts this. It's so meaty and so cool. There is some particularly cool synthesizer work on this thing. The whole cut really shines, but so does everything here.
Spanish Plains
Coming in mellower with some killer acoustic guitar work, this does have that Spanish vibe to it. When the organ solos around the two and a half minute mark, I'm reminded just a bit of The Doors.
Flat Out
This is built on a killer rocking groove. It really jams like crazy. They work through a number of cool movements and such. This was recorded live and you can hear the audience reward the various soloists with applause. It's literally a lively way to end the set.
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