Bill Connors: Crunchy
Bill Connors (guitar)
Assembler (Pathfinder Records PTF8707-CD)
Bill Connors (guitar),
Tom Kennedy (electric bass), Kim Plainfield (drums).
Composed by Bill Connors.
Recorded: New York City, June 1987
Rating: 86/100 (learn more)
Directions for appreciating this review: Be familiar with the music of Allan Holdsworth, Pat Metheny, Jeff Beck, Return to Forever, Ritchie Blackmore and Black Sabbath.
Assembler was Bill Connors's follow-up to the previous year's Double-Up. Such successive output from Connors was a rare thing. He would usually wait years between projects. Assembler marks a continuation of Connors's modified electric guitar style. He had become a cross between Allan Holdsworth and Pat Metheny with a little Jeff Beck thrown in for good measure, which was a far cry from his style during his short-lived stint in fusion supergroup Return to Forever and used on its groundbreaking album Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy. This recording is a collection of jazz-fusion-progressive-rock instrumentals perhaps designed for the hope of radio airplay. Good luck!
"Crunchy" begins with an almost country-like guitar arpeggio accented by occasional harmonics. Drummer Kim Plainfield and bassist Tom Kennedy then double-time it to create a fusion blues hoedown atmosphere. Connors strums muted chords before taking off on his solo. His sound (not his style) is like Deep Purple's Ritchie Blackmore in this section, which is no longer blues. Connors plays in one continuous burst leaving no space between notes. The head arrangement returns leading to a song ending that sounds as if it were lifted off a Black Sabbath record. For those of you in doubt, this is all good.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky