Thursday, November 1, 2012

ShrapnelRecords artists: HBC - Self Titled - New Release review

I just received the newest release from super group HBC and it's really "super". Guitarist Scott Henderson, bassist Jeff Berlin and Drummer Dennis Chambers have put together 9 great tracks, 2 originals and 7 by fusion legends, creating a really notable release. Opening with Herbie Hancock's Actual Proof, the band wastes no time demonstrating both individual talent and the cohesiveness of the band. This 10 plus minute excursion gives each band member the opportunity to shine but the mix is so clean that each player is distinctively apparent even when not soloing. Wayne Shorter's Mysterious Traveller develops a really cool funk groove featuring Henderson's slick soloing efforts. Chambers and Berlin both add substantially to the construction without a wasted note. I particularly like Chambers time change on his own solo with Berlin holding down the original rhythm of the track. Excellent! Joe Zawinul's D Flat Waltz is a perfect choice for this trio providing a cool platform for Berlin to play lead bass in contrast with Henderson on guitar. Henderson plays some beautifully outrageous runs on this track and Chambers never get lost in the mix. Zawinul's Orphan again gives Berlin a nice platform for some solo lead bass over an ethereal synthesized guitar. HBC original Wayward Son Of Devil Boy is straight up blues with Henderson just ripping a hole in the ozone. Threedom, written by Berlin, is a masterful classical bass solo. Very nice. The recording concludes with Billy Cobham's Stratus. I still remember when this song was first released and have always thought that it was an extremely strong composition. It has recently been covered by numerous players and done well. HBC keeps the bass and drum rhythm but the guitar melody is substantially altered from any that I have heard. Again, Henderson shows his fretboard fluidity and musical creativity in molding this track into something unique. Lesser artists would rename this track and claim it their for their own.
If you like fusion, or are looking for a new taste of something different...this is a good place to look!

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