Jon Batiste / Chad Smith / Bill Laswell — The Process
(M.O.D. Technologies MOD0015, 2014, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2015-02-25
The Process gives us bassist/producer extraordinaire Bill Laswell, keyboardist Jon Batistie of The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, and drummer Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers in an update of the classic organ trio — after a fashion. Batiste covers a lot more than just Hammond organ, adding pianos acoustic and electric as well as various other keyboards left unspecified. A reasonable reference would be Medeski Martin & Wood. There's a funky vibe on many of the tunes, and Smith's drumming favors bold patterns with lots of tom action. Guests provide trumpets, woodwinds, guitar, and vocals on a few of the tracks, providing some different tone colors, but it is the core trio who define this work. Batiste has three solo spots ("B1," "B2," "B3") interspersed between the group tracks, which are generally short and meditative. His playing is solid throughout, with emotive solos and great tones — distorted Rhodes is a great sound, and a big, fat Hammond can't be beat. Smith has a rock-steady drive, with a tendency to come up with accents in odd places that just work. And Lawell is a monster, as always, dominating the low end with killer riffs that have little spaces to let the rhythm breathe. His production work is stellar as well, sounding excellent both in headphones and in the open air. For a welcome alternative to groups like Niacin, The Process is well worth a listen.
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
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
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
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more