John Mackay, piano, synthesizer, and tabla; Steve Zerlin, electric and acoustic bass; Alan Hall, drums
Messrs. Shorter and Hancock should be pleased with this new CD dedicated to them. The John Mackay Trio's openness to new interpretations-as opposed to literal reconstruction of famous charts-yields performances that consistently rise above the level of mere tribute. If any recording symbolizes the creative spirit of the San Francisco Bay Area music scene, this is it.
The unexpected rhythmic variations on "Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum," "Cantaloupe Island," "Black Nile," and other themes set this group apart from the competition. "Footprints Fantasy" is a multi-leveled, tour-de-force solo performance by the leader, complete with percussive clusters. And Mackay's poly-modal piece, "Her Way," reveals an accomplished composer deserving much wider recognition.
by James D. Armstrong, Jr.
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