Express (Marsis Jazz MJ0701)
Will Lee (bass), Wolfgang Haffner (drums).
Composed by Wolfgang Haffner.
Recorded: Castle Oaks, CA, 2007
Rating: 88/100 (learn more)
This is the sixth album from jazz-rock unit Metro. From the beginning of their collaboration in the mid-'90s, the band has been on a mission to play the type of fusion music they grew up with and loved. So the influences are many, from Miles Davis, Mahavishnu, Weather Report and Herbie Hancock to Pat Metheny.
You can, however, play music in honor of your heroes without sounding like them. "Express" actually sounds more like the '80s fusion of the great Mark Egan/Danny Gottlieb band Elements – speeded up. In fact, its melody shares many similarities with the very fine Danny Gottlieb composition "Monterey" from his album Aquamarine.
The always-expressive Forman introduces the chugging title tune with some synthesis, piano and organ. His chords usher in Loeb's sustained notes for a very simple but attention-grabbing melody. Forman takes a solo that hints at Lyle Myles. (This could be because Haffner's drums, Lee's bass and the chord changes are Pat Metheny Group-sounding at times). Loeb's power solo, though, does not sound like Pat Metheny. The simple theme, now more urgent, returns and takes us down the tracks. "Express" gets us to our next destination in plenty of time.
Comparisons in this review are meant as reference points only. Each musician in Metro has a strong, distinct voice and sounds like himself. All aboard!
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky