Mike Brannon, guitar; Dave Foster, electric bass; Greg Norris, acoustic bass; Darren Kuper, drums; with guest artists: Anthony Bazzani, Andy Langham, Dave Eskridge, keyboards; Jeff Colin, soprano sax; Rich Potter, tenor saxophone; Trey Gunn, 8-string Warr guitar.

Synergy is a strong, groove-oriented collective, and one would be hard pressed to find fault with the sense of rhythm and pulse demonstrated here. However, it is when the perceived influences from fusion and electronics are sublimated in favor of a less dense harmonic approach that the strongest performances emerge. The expansive concert D Lydian tonal center that forms the basis of "Tripod" yields some of the most adventurous and inspired moments in the session. When Kuper's powerful, surging polyrhythms emerge, this group is stunning: this is a percussionist who knows how to bring out the best in his soloists. If the stated purpose of the session is breaking away from unwritten rules players have to follow, then its mission accomplished here.

by James D. Armstrong, Jr.

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