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Return of the Jazz Fusioneers

 

 

     
 

Released July 2001 – Afterdark Records AFDA0002

Recorded at Earth Terminal Studios, April – May 2001

 

   

Musicians:

Martin Lawrie
– keyboards
Steve Marshall
– bass, flute, vocals
Russell Wilson
– drums, percussion
Nick Andrew
- guitars

With:
Ed Jones
– soprano & tenor saxes

 

Tracks:

Philadelphia
Commuting
One More Chance
Sunrise Boulevard
Groovin’ on the First
Zavod

     
     

Steve Marshall - "The clue is in the title really – the our first CD ‘Somewhere In The City’ was a record of a highly enjoyable and worthwhile period working very much in a ‘soul-jazz’ vein, but our individual roots were always in jazz fusion – not the elevator music it seems to have become these days, but the use of electric instruments in jazz-type structures, as pioneered by the likes of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, late-70’s Weather Report. Jean-Luc Ponty and more recently by bands like Tribal Tech and the Flecktones. We all felt that with this direction we were returning to the music we’d all grown up with and loved, and Nick Andrew having joined the band the previous year, had christened us ‘fusioneers’ on his website – so for our second CD, ‘Return of the Jazz Fusioneers’ it was.

What we went for on this CD was a real ‘live’ feel to capture the sound of the band after what had been our busiest year ever in terms of gigs – there’s lots of first takes in there and very few overdubs. This means both extraordinary energy levels on some of the uptempo sections, particularly closing number ‘Zavod’, but also great dynamics on the quieter numbers like the slow melodic tune ‘One More Chance’.

Having Nick’s guitar in the line-up not only gave us another ‘voice’ and a dazzling soloist (check out ‘Sunrise Boulevard’ playout or his solo on ‘Zavod’), but also brought a new dimension to the rhythm section, and the CD sees us start to explore on numbers like ‘Commuting’ (one from the early days) the sort of cool grooves that we’d take further on ‘Hold The Front Page’. However, there was still need for a sax player on 3 of the numbers – we’d done quite a few gigs with Ed Jones over the previous year, and he did a fantastic job.

For me the personal highlight is ‘Sunrise Boulevard’ – most numbers we record have been ‘road tested’, ie gigged to the point where you’re totally comfortable in a way that comes across when you record them, and this was certainly the case with this one, which first appeared on our 1994 demo and is still our set-opener on most gigs. It’s a tune that whether you’re playing to 2000 people (which we did at the Canary Wharf 'Great Escape' a few years back), or to a more intimate audience (which is much more nerve-wracking!) it is like putting on a favourite suit – you can get comfortable in it (we sometimes sit on the opening groove for 5 minutes until everyone’s suitably chilled) and then head out knowing you look (or sound) cool. This is a great version – Russ really ‘in the pocket’ and nice solos from Martin and Nick, with Ed’s superb tone taking the melody brilliantly. ‘One More Chance’ runs it close – as any fellow musos reading will know, quiet numbers are far harder than loud ones! It’s particularly difficult to put real emotion into a synth solo, but Martin manages it here with ease.

At the time we didn’t yet know Nick’s abilities as a producer – it would be good to hear a different angle on ‘Return of the Jazz Fusioneers’ with given the sort of ‘polish’ he was able to give to ‘Hold The Front Page’. Maybe a project for the future: combining some of the great live recordings we have with Theo Travis and Ed Jones with some remixes of older tracks perhaps?"