Den City 2019
Stepping out of Rollins and Bowie shadows, globe-trotting guitarist forgets about his worries and his strife.
Not a household name, Chris Haskett has long been kept in high esteem by his peers and heroes yet, even quarter-century into solo career, he still seems to be proving something to the audience – and, perhaps, to himself, too. Whether this four-number funk-fusion EP, a nod to Jeff Beck, will change the public’s perception of Haskett as an independent artistic entity, as opposed to accompanist to stars. is a moot point, although such a well-wired attempt to weld concert recordings to studio tracks – an indication that a subsequent covers album may be anything but ordinary – should deserve a lot of laud. Sadly, there’s a slightly schematic approach to tunes on “Insufficient Necessities” which are riff-based and offer not so much in terms of melodic development.
Quite possibly, this is the entire reasoning behind the tellingly titled “Dodge ‘Em” whose start-stop stumble is contagious, with harmonies attached to every six-string note as if to take the listener away from a demo-quality groove towards a viscous bluesy solo, while “Ivy City” has a nice spank to its playful, percussion-spiced pogo. That’s where Chris’ instrumental attack delicately comes alive, for “Hoof-DEEE!” to reveal a boogie organ grinding underneath the piece’s hard veneer to make his filigree lines more pronounced, before the unhurried “Going Back” rides cymbals into the sunset with much grace. As repeated spins highlight previously unheard details, the EP must bring joy not only to fans of name musicians Haskett helped but also to those willing to follow him on an individual path.