Exposé Online banner

In Cahoots — All That
(Cuneiform Rune 181, 2003, CD)

by Jeff Melton, 2003-12-01:

All That Cover art

Guitarist and composer Phil Miller has taken full advantage of a rejuvenated outlook as a result of his band’s acclaimed first West Coast appearance. With the addition of new drummer Mark Fletcher along with a veteran brass section including Elton Dean and trumpeter Jim Dvorak, the group stole the festival from Software (with Allan Holdsworth) at Progman 2002 in Seattle. Miller, being an astute planner, took the band into the studio in January this year to record a set of six new pieces and a reworking of an older piece in his arsenal (“Your Root 2”). Keyboardist Peter Lemer’s “Big Dick” (a tribute to Dick Heckstall-Smith) was written by Lemer while waiting for a gig and utilizes a shell framework where the other players work inside the construct. Miller’s “Inca” is a mid-tempo track that begins with Miller and Dvorak carrying a unison lead before Miller takes the first solo on the track. Perhaps the guitarist’s best composition is “Sleight of Hand,” that features a light introduction capturing the old National Health feel with Dean’s and Dvorak’s best solos. As Dean himself confirmed in a brief interview this fall, Miller’s songs are an excellent format for these players as his songwriting skills appeal to the best instincts of experienced players. Overall this is the best group album since the Live 86-89 In Cahoots disc. Highly Recommended, and on my top ten releases for this year.


by Peter Thelen, 2003-12-01:

The brilliant and fluid jazz, rock, and improvisational sensibilities of this outstanding lineup (now featuring new drummer Mark Fletcher, who played with them at Progman Cometh 2002, replacing Pip Pyle) all come together to make this one of In Cahoots’ finest moments, equaling or topping the great live sets from the late 80s and early 90s. I guess the keyword here is energy – there’s a lot of it on a many different levels, on each of the seven tracks here. I guess it doesn’t hurt to have some of the best players around in your band (Elton Dean, Fred Baker, Pete Lemer, and Jim Dvorak – on sax, bass, electric piano, and trumpet respectively), but much of the magic here can be attributed directly to guitarist and bandleader Phil Miller, and his exceptional skills as chief composer and arranger, who tends to tailor the material to bring out the absolute best in each player. The dynamic interplay between soloists, guitar and keys, and the incredibly nimble rhythm section is at times mind-boggling, plus the great sense of melodicism in the compositions makes this set a thoroughly satisfying experience. The arrangements are such that every listen reveals some new structural or melodic paradigm that wasn’t evident before; it truly is one of those discs that can sustain endless replays and keep delivering the magic. All that makes All That easily one of the year’s best releases.


by David Ashcraft, 2003-12-01:

It seems hard to believe that it’s been over 20 years since Phil Miller formed In Cahoots after the late great National Health disbanded. All That is only the sixth full In Cahoots album, although Miller’s solo albums Cutting Both Ways and Split Seconds both contained several tracks by the band. In many respects, All That continues in the tradition of the prior albums as it offers up Miller’s jazz-inflected compositions with intricate themes and lengthy solos by the band members. The players have impressive pedigrees including stints with Soft Machine, Matching Mole, Gilgamesh, Keith Tippett, and much more. The band’s sound has been altered somewhat with the addition of drummer Mark Fletcher, who replaces Pip Pyle now that he has formed his own band, Bash. Despite Fletcher’s jazz background he brings a powerful rock underpinning to the rhythm section that compliments monster bassist Fred Baker’s melodic chops perfectly. Since the melodies are often stated in unison by the sax and trumpet, the album will sound to many listeners as coming mostly from the jazz idiom. While the music is extremely well written and played, those seeking more of a progressive rock sound could be somewhat disappointed. Having said that, the album is truly outstanding, and its complexity can be best appreciated after multiple listenings. The only suggestion for the next album is to have some tracks recorded as a quartet with the horns sitting out in order to be able to hear Miller’s intense playing in a less dense context.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 28 , 2003 releases

Related artist(s): Elton Dean, Fred Thelonious Baker, Phil Miller

More info

Latest news

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Mars Volta - De-loused in the Comatorium – The Mars Volta, on their full-length debut, joins Radiohead as a relatively high profile “alternative rock” group to flirt with progressive elements, and in fact does Radiohead one better (to the...  (2003) » Read more

Versailles - Le Trésor de Valliesres – This latest offering from the French four-piece Versailles takes the spirit of the classic French symphonics (Ange, Mona Lisa, etc.) and dresses it in a modern suit of heavy armor. Vocalist Guillaume...  (1994) » Read more

Dialog, Crystal Maze & Mad Puppet - Cry of the Hawk, Forever & King Laurin – Three recent albums by three different unrelated bands on Music Is Intelligence. All three released very promising debut albums in the early/mid-80s, these being somewhat belated follow-ups (to be...  (1995) » Read more

Gavin Lurssen - Restless – Restless is Gavin Lurssen's first major effort as a solo acoustic guitarist. Originally from South Africa, he came to the Americas when he was sixteen. He attended Berklee College of Music where...  (2000) » Read more

Network - The Little Blue Book – Some may remember Network from their album Corroded Paths released about three years ago. Members of the band (a five-piece from the UK) all seem to be involved in numerous projects, including Groon,...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues