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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Tony Malaby's Sabino

The Cave Of Winds

Review by Gary Hill

This act is considered jazz, but honestly, if any jazz group fits under fusion, it's these guys. The music seems like a paradox. It's largely freeform and experimental. Yet it's also surprisingly accessible. Parts of this lean toward hard rock. It's a classy set that just works so well. This is actually the first disc of the year that I think might make my "best of 2022" list by the time the year is done. I don't know that anything has hit the short list as quickly in the year as this one did.

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Track by Track Review
Corinthian Leather
Knowing the origins of the term "Corinthian Leather" puts a smile on my face seeing it as a song title. This comes in rather sparse, but turns out to some crazed and so cool fusion jamming. It seems rather freeform, but it's also quite effective.
This doesn't get as loud and driving as the opener was for the bulk of this nearly 12-minute piece. It does have some particularly tasty spacey exploration. This is dramatic and so cool. It has a real science fiction weirdness to it in a lot of ways. More bombastic, but still completely crazed and freeform, jamming takes over in the final quarter of the number. I love the bass solo at the end.
Scratch the Horse
This comes in heavy and distorted. It wouldn't be a stretch to imagine this as the beginning of some heavy metal song. It works through like that with some guitar hero type stuff appearing. As it approaches the minute-and-a-half mark some other elements emerge, eventually taking this more into a jazz zone. Still, I'd consider this to be more of a jazz rock piece than pure fusion.
Insect Ward
More crazed and strange, but also tasty, jazz is on the menu here. There is a sense of danger built into this thing.
The Cave of Winds
This is the epic of the set. It's nearly 18-and-a-half-minutes long. The piece has a lot of different moods and themes. Parts are on the mellower end of the spectrum, while others are louder and more fired up. It's all freeform and experimental. It's also all compelling. It gets quite crazed and bombastic at times.
Life Coach (for Helias)
While still rather freaky, there is a really palatable groove to this piece. It's a somewhat different concept, but also feels like it belongs.
Just Me, Just Me
I love the way this feels like it is doing some kind of acrobatics, twisting this way and that. The guitar brings an almost Allan Holdsworth meets Robert Fripp vibe. The whole tune is creative, freeform and so tasty.
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