Cave Men (J2K 20031)
Composed by J. K. Kleutgens.
Recorded: Los Angeles, August-December 2002
Rating: 86/100 (learn more)
A sultry theme defines "Sanctuary," a tune recorded by an amalgamation known as the Cave Men. Saxophone and guitar lead the way, with axeman Antti Kotikoski stepping out of the intertwining maze like Steve Hackett. While the slap bass and rolling drums sound like Chris Squire and Bill Bruford, respectively, there is an edge to this recording that results from each player's confidence with the recording's overall direction.
The feel recalls jazz fusion of the 1970s, with the prickly sax punching through the mix like Joe Henderson and, as the saxophone solo gets hot, Kotikoski punctuates things with a beautiful, clean-toned melody that adds a touch of fusion flavor. The tune sits somewhere between the progresssive rock heights of groups like Yes and Genesis and the jazz artistry of Mike Stern and Tony Williams as the ensemble rocks the changes like a hyperactive version of Spyro Gyra.
Featuring quite a bit of improvisation that sets the wheels in motion, much of the musical mania defies gravity, and the sound reflects the talents of musicians who obviously consider the notes and phrases they play before they actually play them.
Reviewer: Marcus Singletary