Woodenhead - Perseverance

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Free Electric Sound
Catalog Number: FES4003
Format: CD
Total Time: 59:06:00

Free Electric Sound is proving itself to be a label to be reckoned with, further evidence provided by the third release from The Laser's Edge offshoot - Woodenhead's Perserverance. Though a name likely new to many progressive music fans, they've been making music for more than 20 years. Formed in 1975 by Jimmy Robinson and Danny Cassin, after each had played in various bands "influenced by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Byrds, Jimi Hendrix and Cream [? ] Robinson led [?] a [?] Yes/King Crimson/Zappa influenced band called Laugh In the Dark" before forming Woodenhead. The band's biography forms the liner notes to the CD, bringing everyone up to the present. In the immediate future, Woodenhead have been tapped to play at the NEARfest 2003 pre-show along with Izz and Miriodor ? making the pre-show as diverse as the main festival itself.

From the first few notes of the first track you will be struck with two thoughts. The first is that you're hearing country music's version of contemporary instrumental. But don't let the twang of "Big G" - which is a very neat, nice and mellow piece - fool you. There's a jazz fusion heart inside this quartet. This becomes immediately apparent in the funky "Bone Wars" that follows, a piece that also features the "trombones from hell" (hence "bones") Mark Mullins, Brian O'Neil and Rick Trolsen. Yes there is something dark and sometimes menacing about them to be sure. And in the rumbling, King Crimson like "Little Blue" we hear darkness of another sort, though the mood of this track shifts from moody to frenetic back to moody? in and out of the blues, as it were. And in that frenetic section, they quote a phrase from a well-known piece? even if you can't name it, you'll instantly think of a Latin-tinged western. Crimson will come to mind with "Buzz Beat" at times as well.

The other thought that will come to you, and be accurate throughout is that this is some high quality stuff. That stuff is a sharp, sweet, sometimes tart guitar from band leader Jimmy Robinson, who plays with that "less is more" philosophy, making each note count. The bounce and throb comes from the bass of Paul Clement, punctuated by the solid, tight and yet loose drumming of Mark Whitaker. All this is given some wonderful texture from keyboardist Fran Comisky, whose keys sound more like vibes on "Dance #2" along with some piano like textures. And then there's those trombones - what a sweet, deep sound they make ? throaty at times ("Funk Tune"), ballsy at others ("Chef Of The Future").

This is a CD that hits all the right notes - playful at times, sounding as if they had fun playing with and off each other. Perhaps never more so in one of the 10 tracks here that I absolutely love, the rolling, rollicking "Yes And No," where Robinson and Clement really go all out, leading into one of the sweetest guitar solos from Robinson.

"Chef Of The Future" is the perfect summer time song - big, bold and funky. It is the perfect driving piece to zip along the freeway or highway, given its ballsy sound by those 'bones. Robinson bends notes with a measured control, yet signaling that what the chef is cooking up is not going to be tame in any way, shape or form. There's some cool, muted wah-wah guitar from Robinson as well.

In amongst all the "showing off" is the mellower "Ayo Aise." Mellow doesn't mean in any way staid, as another lovely guitar solo from Robinson is backed by some equally lovely piano stylings from Clement (where again, vibes will also come to mind).

Perseverance is one of those albums that begs repeated plays. Oh, by the way, I said "Yes And No" was one of the 10 tracks that I love -- there are 10 tracks on the CD. Surely one of my top picks come the end of the year. Very, very cool stuff.

Big G (4:20) / Bone Wars (4:34) / Drop Dead (5:01) / Little Blue (5:55) / Ayo Aise (7:27) / Dance #2 (5:50) / Chef Of The Future (7:06) / Funk Tune (7:03) / Yes And No (4:47) / Buzz Beat (7:00)

Jimmy Robinson - guitars
Mark Whitaker - drums, percussion
Fran Comisky - keyboards, piano
Paul Clement - bass


Brian O'Neil - Trombone
Mark Mullins - Trombone
Rick Trolsen - Trombone

Woodenhead Live
The Big Picture Music
From The Big Green Warehouse
Perseverance (2003)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: April 20th 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.woodenheadmusic.com
Hits: 742
Language: english


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