Exposé Online banner

Quicksilver — Six String Voodoo
(Global Recording Artists GRA 12582, 2007, CD)

Quicksilver — Quicksilver 07 Live
(Global Recording Artists GRA 12632, 2008, CD)

Quicksilver — The Hermit
(Global Recording Artists GRA 12792, 2010, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2011-06-01

Six String Voodoo Cover artQuicksilver 07 Live Cover artThe Hermit Cover art

Gary Duncan was the ‘other’ guitarist in the original Quicksilver Messenger Service. Today, with Freiberg off doing other things with Jefferson Starship most of the time, Greg Elmore nowhere to be found, and Cipollina and Dino having moved on to the next world, the stewardship of the Quicksilver name has gone to Duncan. What began as a review of the band’s latest album The Hermit made more sense in perspective with the band’s two previous releases. What’s important to understand is that, aside from Duncan’s guitar and a propensity for extended jamming, the music here bears little resemblance to the original QMS sound, or even the early 70s Dino-led version of the band. This is not an effort to retread the old days, but a vital new sound that should be judged in the context of currency.

Six String Voodoo curiously contains no credits whatsoever, other than Duncan, thus leading one to believe that this might well be a ‘solo album,’ with the guitarist laying down numerous tracks of psychedelic and jazzy guitar, bass, piano, and keyboards along with an anonymous drummer – or perhaps Duncan is the drummer too. The studio is a big player here as well, adding reverb and other effects to make this one very trippy instrumental playground. While most of the material across the seven cuts herewithin is jammy, wandering and somewhat introspective, it is nonetheless effective and engaging once the listener accedes to its improvisational groove. All taken, the result is nothing short of brilliant.

Released later the same year, Quicksilver 07 is indeed a full band project, with five long tracks recorded live at two different venues with different (six and seven piece) lineups, both featuring Duncan and keyboardist Michael Lewis. They put their unique spin on cuts by Monk (“Round Midnight”), Horace Silver (“Señor Blues”), Herbie Hancock (“Maiden Voyage” performed with both lineups) and an impressive eleven-minute take on the Reinhart / Grapelli classic “Minor Swing.” Much of the material here has been staple in the band’s repertoire since the mid-90s and as such is well-traveled and time-tested.

The new studio album, The Hermit, features most of the "Suwanee River" lineup (the last two cuts on Quicksilver 07) including longtime drummer Greg Errico (ex-Sly and the Family Stone), second guitarist John Bird, and bassist Jimmy Guyette. Notably absent is longtime member Michael Lewis, although Quicksilver’s material is so dominated by guitars that the missing keyboardist is hardly noticed. What little keyboards there are here are played by Duncan himself. Unlike the live set, this mixes a few jazz cover tunes (Silver, Jobim, Gillespie) in with a set of new originals plus reworked instrumental versions of songs dating back to the mid-90s Shapeshifter albums. The overall approach is similar to those psychedelic-tinged jazz improvisations, with “Boo-Hooin” offering a more funky groove unlike what we’ve heard before. Of special note is the acoustic “Cancion para Dios,” an exceptional Spanish guitar instrumental featuring a guest appearance by Jorge Santana (ex-of Malo and younger brother of Carlos). All taken this is a superb studio set that should translate well to the live stage.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 39, 2007 releases, 2008 releases, 2010 releases

Related artist(s): Quicksilver Messenger Service

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

SSI - E Pluribus Unum – SSI (Sonic Solutions, Inc.) apparently consists of California brothers Will and John Goff, who combine laptops and MIDI synths along with live and programmed percussion to create sounds reminiscent...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues