Spectrum Road: Fusion Supergroup with Jack Bruce, Vernon Reid and John Medeski
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The last date listed for Spectrum Road was Saturday June 30, 2012 / 8:00pm (Doors at 6:00pm).
Currently at Howard Theatre
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Reviews & Ratings
Featured review from Alex Shoaibi
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I have been listening to "jazz rock" for about 40 years, been to plenty of great concerts - Weather Report, Return to Forever, Miles Davis, Larry Coryell, John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock, Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck - and this truly was right up there. Everyone on stage was a monster. Vernon Reid is a shredder, a style I like but don't always love, preferring some space between notes sometimes, but he was still amazing. I have always loved the organ (I actually own a 1968 Hammond, which I played for years as a kid, until the lack of innate talent and self-discipline to practice regardless became too much), and John Medeski, who, while no Jimmy Smith (saw him in '79 in LA - the God of the organ) was a very hot player, who even tickled the mellotron, bringing back memories of the early days of prog-rock. Obviously I don't need to tell anyone about the genius and importance of Jack Bruce. Let me just say that his bass playing was as vigorous, interesting and loud as it was almost fifty years ago with Ginger and Eric, and his voice (and his did sing several times) was the SAME as it was back in the day. Personal high points were "Politician" (last song of the main set) and, of course, "Sunshine of Your Love" (second encore, last song of the night). Jack Bruce was basically sweating on me!! But, the high point for my 16 year old daughter, and had it not been for the presence of a personal life long idol, for me as well, was Mrs. Santana. I have to tell you, I was skeptical when I heard that she was supposedly going to fill the shoes of arguably the greatest drummer who ever lived. But she did. She really did. She was among the most athletic, musical, polyrhythmic, tasteful drummers I have ever seen.
If you ever get a chance to see Spectrum Road, do it. Regardless, get the cd. Music this good was rare back in the day. Now, it's basically non-existant. Thank you to Jack, Cindy, Vernon, and John (and Tony Williams, Larry Young, and John McLaughlin) for making it possible to hear new music this good today.
This all-star band emerged from a discussion between Vernon Reid and Jack Bruce when Vernon was touring and recording with Jack around 2003. They bonded over how much they admired the groundbreaking music of Tony Williams’ Lifetime, in particular the first and second editions of that seminal band, and especially the second edition, in which Jack participated with Larry Young and John McLaughlin and recorded the classic album_ Turn It Over_ in 1970. Vernon suggested using John Medeski on keyboards and Tony Williams acolyte Cindy Blackman on drums. This band premiered in December 2008 at the Blue Note in Tokyo. The 2011 shows were the first time the band has played in the United States. Spectrum Road has just finished recording an album which will released in the Spring of 2012 on Palmetto Records.
From his stunning debut with Miles Davis at 17, through his pioneering work with John McLaughlin, Larry Young, Allan Holdsworth and others, Tony Williams is often hailed as the greatest drummer who ever lived. Undoubtedly, the Tony Williams Lifetime, across a half-dozen albums from 1969-1976, helped chart the course of the fusion era. His subsequent emergence as a major composer, with a series of releases for Blue Note in the mid ‘80s, cemented Tony’s unique place in the jazz pantheon. With devoted Williams protégé Cindy Blackman at the drum chair, Spectrum Road is named for one of the incendiary tracks on the original Lifetime album — but this isn’t just a tribute band!
After making rock history with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker in Cream, legendary British bassist Jack Bruce joined the Lifetime for two records and now anchors Spectrum Road. The group is artfully rounded out with famed funk-metal guitarist Vernon Reid, of Living Colour, and multi-keyboardist John Medeski, one-third of the jam band juggernaut Medeski, Martin & Wood. Made famous by her 10+ years backing Lenny Kravitz, Blackman has distinguished herself as an impressively versatile player who’s as comfortable on post-bop sessions with Joe Henderson and Wallace Roney as she is touring with pop stars like Kravitz and husband Carlos Santana. The formidable lineup of Spectrum Road assures the legacy of Tony Williams lives on, and clearly qualifies as a major 2012 music event.