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

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tarántula - Tarántula – Tarántula was part of the first wave of Spanish progressive bands from the 70s. This first album from 1976, heretofore a difficult find, has just been reissued on CD in Korea. A five-piece of...  (1994) » Read more

Attempt to Restore - Alpha Collection I – Most new German groups these days seem to have forgotten their musical ancestry from the high psychedelic days of the Ohr and Brain years. Practically all you see is bands like Chandelier, Bel Air,...  (1994) » Read more

Brand X - The X-Files: A 20 Year Retrospective – The first four Brand X albums set a standard for fusion that still exists more than 20 years later. Unfortunately many of the albums that followed didn’t measure up to the band’s...  (2000) » Read more

David Sylvian - Approaching Silence – After a decade of “ambient” silence, Virgin subsidiary label Shakti has released a set of mysterious instrumental pieces by composer David Sylvian. This is the artist’s third...  (2000) » Read more

Odyssice - Silence – Dutch band Odyssice’s new album has been several years in the making, but it was worth the wait. The band has gone though some changes since 2000’s Impression, most notably the addition of...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues