Friday, September 7, 2012

Jesse Fischer & Soul Cycle Retro Future Obliq Sound 2012

So I'm digging the cover art...

Sort of a Gary Numan meets the Cars on the way to a Todd Rundgren show kind of vibe. My press release is telling me of an October 30th street date but in the day of the digital download and pre-ordering I wanted to take this for a test drive now.

Retro Future with the opening track of "Tangueray & Tonic" is pure unadulterated funk. Brian Hogans blows it out on alto saxophone and the release continues a steady uphill climb from there. Jesse Fischer is a relative new shooter in the contemporary jazz scene but his resume is most impressive having gigged with such luminaries as Stevie Wonder, Freddie Jackson and another rising star in Lakecia Benjamin. To be honest, this release is way outside my musical comfort zone of the more straight ahead but that's why it works. Fischer has the unbelievable ability to fuse the more traditional jazz with electronic, soul, psychedelia and world music to come up with a sound that no one else is doing. Jesse Fischer & Soul Cycle do a riff on themselves and their own musical evolution. There are some artists that get close but the release normally dies a self indulgent death in post production - not here!

Eclectic funk might be the best description better still is the fact the music holds up well to critical analysis and sometimes it is best to simply let the music speak for itself.  Retro Future is Fischer's take on the role of technology and how it changes both the individual and the music. In addition to seven originals there are covers including "Electric Ladyland" from Jimi Hendrix and the Fleetwood Mac classic "Landslide." Jesse Fischer nails both covers with Chris Turner doing a dialed down soul infused "Electric Ladyland" and Fischer playing an ambient soulful riff on "Landslide." Technology obviously plays a major roll in the release and it works because the technology is applied with a deft hand for creative effect and not as the more commonly used digital metronome effect found in most smooth jazz releases. Make no mistake, this is not smooth jazz but perhaps the sound they were looking for two years ago when the bottom seemed to drop out of the radio format driven sub genre.

"Digital Savanna" is another Fischer original along with "Tangueray & Tonic" that cuts new ground with layers of texture and a virtual three dimensional sonic depth of field with an unmistakable world music vibe that carries with it lyrical intensity that borders on addictive. "Keep The Faith" is what some would call another deceptive slow jam with a contemporary ebb and flow along with the muscle to cross genre with relative ease.

Jesse Fischer & Soul Cycle are on Obliq Sound which is the same outstanding label that brought you Gretchen Parlato who oddly enough did some work on Fischer's first Independent release.

Stepping outside of your musical comfort zone is a good thing. Jesse Fischer & Soul Cycle make expanding your sonic horizons even better. A groove you can use, a beat you hear with your feet. Amazing cross over potential and a solid winner from cover art to the last note!

Tracks: Tangueray & Tonic; Moon Ship; Aquarius; Digital Savanna; Cyberphunk; Electric Ladyland; Gotham Underground; Midnight Dancer; Keep The Faith; Landslide.

Personnel: Jesse Fischer: piano, moog, rhodes, vocoder, organ; Brian Hogans: alto saxophone, flute; Jean Caze: trumpet, flugelhorn; Corey King: trombone; David Linaburg: guitar; Solomon Banks: percussion; Gabriel Wallace: drums; Rachel Eckroth: vocals (3); Chris Turner: vocals (6).

Check out for more information and maybe even a free download of a single. The future of modern jazz is now!

Special Thanks To Jordy At DL Media For Turning Me On To This Amazing Talent!

I'll be retweeting this review @criticaljazz and you can find it on google plus as well.