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Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge

Within Us: Celebrating 25 Years Of The Jazz Surge

Review by Gary Hill

I could see this landing under non-prog as jazz. I'd argue, though, that the brand of jazz here really seems more like fusion. Call it what you like, though, the music on this disc is compelling, dynamic and powerful. This just such a great album.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Chelsea Shuffle
This thing fires in with some intense jazz jamming. fusion twists and turns ensue as this gets going from there. It's a powerhouse that's never content staying in one place too long. There is some pretty intense drumming here and there on this killer tune.
Trail of the Ancients
Coming in mellower, this has some intriguing melodic progressions as it gets underway. It's definttely less intense than the opener, but no less compelling or intriguing. There are definitively some elements of both rock and world music on this number. I really love the violin work later in the track. It's positively on fire. A mellower exploration later in the track (this piece is over 12-minutes long) really brings the fusion home to roost. When it fires back out later it really gets into some seriously impassioned jamming.
American Noir
Here we get more of a slow moving, melodic jazz number. It's not lacking in class or style, though. It really develops into something special.
Milestones
There is some real drama, magic and power in the mix on this killer tune. The twists and turns as this gets underway are often rapid-fire and always so cool. This has some really powerful moments.
Apalachicola
There is a killer blues guitar section mid-track on this thing. Beyond that it's another classy jazz meets fusion tune. This just oozes cool and charm. That guitar soloing gets so intense, too. While all the instruments get a chance to shine, really love a mellower section later that showcases the violin.
Sparks Fly
There is a dramatic, almost cinematic fusion groove to this as it gets underway. It has a real traveling energy to it. This is quite a powerhouse number packed full of dynamic twists and turns.
The Better Claim
Vibes bring this into being. Mellow jazz textures move it out from there. This really develops into something fierce and a bit crazed in fusion ways.
Within Us (An Invincible Summer)
A mellower piece, the piano really brings something special to this number.

 

 
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