Three 2 Go 2017
Buffalo fusion collective make their melodious mark on a crowded scene.
EL7 couldn’t exist in a rarefied air, what with jazz tradition oozing out of their every pore, yet the band would stand out on any jam-packed stage thanks to their penchant to deliver a dance experience – and do it with the gusto that suits some of the finest upstate New York players. Splashing into life with “Sunday Night” and kicking mirrorball around for a high-spirited funk to shine, the ensemble’s debut jives in the crossfire of thick keyboard daubs, filigree guitar figures and the slap and twang of Michael Pennick’s supple bass. His five strings undress “Inner Beauty” to barenaked perfection and lift “Second Level” to almost orchestral heights and give them a rock edge.
“Before The Storm” is the most transparent implementation of tuneful tinsel on display but, if there’s a number with a character, it’s “Tony Rome”: deep and sophisticated, although warm and welcoming as a friendly conversation should be, the piece is an epitome of the group’s approach, Ronald Walker’s six strings spicing up the intimate, inspired flow of this tune until it takes off for a flight. Elsewhere, the prog-tinged “Sunrise” and “Smooth Ride” bask in the light of Ken Whitman’s sax yet, to defy romantic notions, “That Girl” has quite a heavy spank to its groove, before vocals make their entrance in the somehow less dynamic “Feelin You” to appear again, as a chant, in the tumultuous title track.
There’s a lot going on on this album which may seem quite simple for a traditionally sophisticated genre, but is as impressive as a great start gets.