The Cheebacabra — Metamorphosis
(Makrosoft MS 0007, 2003, CD)
by Jim Chokey, Published 2004-04-01An instrumental funk outfit from the U.S. west coast, The Cheebacabra is led by a drummer/keyboardist named Cheeba, who is joined by six other musicians on keys, guitar, sax, and percussion. The album’s ten tunes (five on each side) are extremely short. Most average two minutes long; the whole LP takes less than 25 minutes to play all the way through. The group’s approach shows a jazz-fusion pedigree — looking back to Herbie Hancock’s classic jazz-funk album Headhunters, although there’s a big difference between Hancock’s spacious explorations (which allow for lots of soloing) and these brief pieces. There is a distinct retro feel here, as the rhythms, the fusion flourishes, and the classic keyboard timbres (jazz-organ, Moog, Fender Rhodes, wah-wah clavinet) evoke the sounds and flavors of the late 70s. In fact, it would be easy to imagine that these tunes come from a soundtrack of the era — an urban cop drama, a blaxploitation flick, or maybe a porn film. Only the frequent use of unvaried, too-heavy, slightly electronicized drum beats betrays the recentness of this recording and its indebtedness (however slight) to current club sensibilities. Still, readers who enjoy a classic funk sound will find Metamorphosis to be a fun listen that skillfully mimics the sounds and styles of classic jazz-funk. They may, however, wish that the tunes were a little longer so that the musicians could do something a bit more than lay down a quick two-minute groove.
Related artist(s): The Cheebacabra
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more