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January 20, 1986 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-01-20

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The Michigan Daily
,Records

ARTS
Monday, January 20, 1986

Page5

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Slider-Glenn-
A Whispered
Warning (ITI)
Despite their fine instrumental
abilities, the members of this synth-
oriented fusion quintet consistently
fail to excite their listener due to sim-
plistic, repetitive melodies and highly
uneven production.
' As composers of the album's eight
tracks, bassist Dann Glenn and
keyboardist Dan Slider seem to forget
that fusion's marriage of jazz and
;rock demands the retention of
elements from both genres, including
the complete-sounding, tuneful
imelodies inherent in pop music. In ef-
fect, the composers have assembled
eight catchy, simple riffs, each
drawn-out with impressive soloing to
approximately four minutes in length.
For instance, a tight horn section
repeats to the point of boredom the
basic four-note theme of the upbeat
title track.
I Equally tiresome is the seemingly
unceasing two-measure synth line on
"Party of One," a track which ends,
appropriately enough, with the sound
,of a flushing toilet.
* Somewhat courageously, the liner
notes invite the listener to name the
purposely untitled final track, a poin-
tless, chordally infantile funk outing
over which tenor saxophonist Bob
Sandman trades solos with guitarist
'Barry Coates. My choice for the title?
:low about "Defused Fusion?"
In addition to the directionless, un-
finished sound of these melodies, A
Whispered Warning suffers from poor
mixing; talented drummer Nick Vin-
cent is far too loud, causing many
fine solos to sound faded and secon-
dary, while virtually drowning bassist
Glenn.
Slider-Glenn overcomes many of
these problems, however, on the
seething "Firefight," marked by an
urgent "Birdland" high-hat beat and
an assured, grooving bass line.
Meanwhile, Coates unleashes a
sweetly distorted, blistering guitar
solo a la Holdsworth before Sandman
races through beautiful tenor im-
provisations. Here, the mix sounds
unusually even and the melody seem
insignificant as the band charges
ahead with intensity and im-
provisational flash.
Unfortunately, less agressive num-
bers serve to highlight repetitive
melodies and problematic production,
thus quickly losing the listener's in-
terest; in fact, nowhere on the album
does the band approach the im-
passioned, compelling feel of
"Firefight."
In short, Slider-Glenn wastes excep-
tional musicianship on melodically
unambitious, often poorly mixed
material, holding one's interest only
when a weak tune is obscured by
feverish performances.
-Joe Acciaioli
*Seventh Avenue - Heads Up
(ITI)
In defiance of the growing
popularity and profits enjoyed by jazz
,fusion artists, this abundantly talen-
ed Los Angeles quintet glides through
seven well-conceived tunes that are
strongly influenced by young Miles
Davis and Art Blakey.
Goodbye,
Hello
The motion of leaving; remem-

bering, catching up, gliding
Seeing our way, feelingly; a vision
of warmth
In an uneasy drop of sweat,
trickling annoyingly
To the end of my exhausted nose,
Until dropping with a twitch,
relievingly, to the chilling
bathroom floor,
Spread out to the cold in its own
nakedness, waiting for warmth.

While the individual performances
here are superb, Seventh Avenue ex-
cels for its ability to function as a tight
unit; Heads Up boasts arrangements
that, like graceful waves, swell and
resolve in their levels of instrumen-
tation and dynamics.
This effect emerges most
noticeably on the title track and
"Ebullition," both excellent com-
positions. On the former, after a
rousing six measure introduction by
the entire group, the feel alters
drastically as bassist John Patitucci
and tenor saxophonist Bob Sheppard
alone present the tune's subdued
theme, a toe-tapping unison melody.
Later, the band swings beautifully
with Sheppard and trumpeter Bob
Ojeda soloing emotionally over a
medium-tempoed walking bass line.
Still more impressive, however, is
the arrangement found on the edgy,
potent "Ebullition," composed by
pianist Tom Garvin. Full of agile
changes in feel and structure, the
track begins with a rifling tenor solo
driven to the brink of (but never
losing) control by Mike Stephans'

fiery drumming. This pace fades long
enough for the mellow, pensive theme
to be heard, only to surge forward
again with Ojeda and Sheppard
blasting harmonically the punchy
melody. In less than seven minutes,
Seventh Avenue travels deftly
through quiet piano improvisation, a
wonderful swing tempo, and the
original supercharged straight beat
over which each member eventually
solos. To its credit, the band executes
these changes in an unforced, fluid
manner, a testimony of the members'
familiarity with, and understanding
of, the material.
Elsewhere, the arrangements are
no less effective, providing plenty of
space within which the soloists can
stretch-out, particularly on slower
selections like "Randi's Song," and
"Soul Dance." On the latter, Garvin
solos thoughtfully, never attempting
to overplay within the sparse, slow-
swinging arrangement. Indeed, the
inspired soloing on Heads Up, through
often stunning, avoids overstepping
the conceptual borders of any given
tune.

Despite the band's remarkable
togetherness, the album is flawed by
poor production, like the glaringly
weak miking of drummer Stephans.
Typically, little financial support is
available to new acoustic bop groups,
a prime indication of the lack of
respect our country bears for its only
original art form. Fortunately,
Seventh Avenue rises above such
technical limitations with urgent
playing and fine compositions.
On this self-produced effort, Seven-
th Avenue strikes the listener as an
intuitively-communicating, singularly-
purposed group of fine musicians, of-
fering a nod to their pure jazz heritage
as well as promise for the genre's
future.
-Joe A cciaioli
Join the U-M
WOMEN'S GLEE CLUB!
Contact Rosalie Edwards at
665-7408 for auditions.

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