Marvelous fusion of unlikely heroes results in delicious accomplishment.
By looking at this record’s cover one can hardly guess what lies under the comics surface, but if the words “mavericks” and “muscular” come to mind, you’re in for a treat. Led by Uruguayan guitar legend Beledo, who wrote all bar one pieces here, and featuring keyboardist Adam Holzman, former Miles Davis’ MD and designer of such an alluring artwork, the quartet, rounded off by legionaries Lincoln Goines and Kim Plainfield on bass and drums, work out a light fusion vibe which, what with the players’ images, throw a drawbridge to “Romantic Warrior” and beyond. Resulting atmosphere is heavily hazy in the riff-rising “Rauleando” with its piano dance, and translucent in the fantastically textured runs of the multi-layered “No Big Deal” and “Siddhartha’s Return” yet invariably (if that’s the right word for this constantly shifting plateau of a platter) alluring.
The title track marries melodic pull to a free-form jamming for a certain unpredictability to kick in – and out on the serene rippling of “After All” that delicately hugs you with its spidery lines that become progressively filigree as solos are traded – to become a dark undercurrent in “Exactly” where the pulsing groove keeps wayward licks together before the four-string wave swells up and percussion bristles. The introduction of Marcus Miller’s “Portia” at this point feels very logical, the plaintive piece a perfect vehicle for the ensemble to push their unison shimmer to vertiginous depths of emotional engagement and pass a tonal torch of tension around the ever-expanding space. And when it’s filled with the “Jimmy O’Donnell’s Air” folky splashes at the bottom end, an irresistible slow jive sets in for the sunset mood to reign. Saving the day rarely feels so savory!