Dave Weckl Band — The Rhythm of the Soul
(Stretch Records SCD-9016-2, 1998, CD)
by Mike Ezzo, Published 1999-11-01Back when I was in college, Weckl was God to every star-struck drummer who ever picked up a pair of sticks. His years behind the kit in both of Chick Corea's bands allowed him ample opportunity to display his surfeit drum chops and sky's-the-limit outlook - a sort of Steve Gadd pushed to greater technical extremes. Here he appears fronting his own ensemble, and though I know not how many previous albums he has completed, I no longer relish the thought of another slice of his music. To make my biases known: I prefer fusion with a sting of uniqueness that makes Brand X, Dixie Dregs, or Mahavishnu Orchestra so special. But Weckl's CD sounds like it could have been made by any random set of studio musicians you'd care to stick in a room together, at any time between 1982 and 1999. Eleven instrumental tunes, co-penned by Weckl and keyboardist Jay Oliver, make up the recording, which seems aimed at drummers wishing to study Weckl in detail, credits listing every piece of equipment, even down to his brand of sticks, heads, and shoes! If I had to capture the essence in one word, I would choose "orthodox." His band, consisting of guitar, bass, sax, and keys, plays in a commercial Tower of Power mode of 80s funk/fusion that leaves hardly a nook or cranny of room for originality. Behind the kit, Weckl usually keeps a steady supportive backbeat, complemented by the odd snare accent on an off-beat. At a certain point in each tune (almost without exception) you can expect that either he, or the bassist, will burst into a flurry of two or four-bar solo phrases. These highlights however are a sort of double-edged sword insofar as the flashy fills and soloistic drum breaks (impeccably executed though they are) inexorably serve to reveal the uneventfulness of the compositional substance. Furthermore, I had hoped a player of his stature would show a bit of cavalier, daredevil risk-taking, whereas here everything comes across as strictly calculated; as if every moment were rehearsed. Some of the quieter moments are perhaps more original, and more to my liking, but on the whole only those whose motive is to study how Weckl approaches a certain tempo or meter (how he works his fills and solos into these kinds of grooves) will benefit from a recording like this.
Related artist(s): Dave Weckl
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more