Nothing drives a critic nuts more than an artist that defies strict categorization. Bernie Mora & Tangent will be dropping their latest release on June 4, 2013 and Mora is that elusive musical square peg that can not fit the round hole of convention. The Texas based guitarist brings together the best musicians from the El Paso area along with some real deal A list musicians from Los Angeles for a vibrant approach to what many would call jazz / rock or early fusion. Call it what you will, Bernie Mora is a hidden gem and when paired up with horn titans Doug Webb and Lee Thornburg this is what happens when you hit the fast forward button on 1977 and have hook up with 2013.
Mora and friends cover the sonic spectrum from jazz to fusion to contemporary instrumental and all with a smoldering funk infused flavor smoldering just below the surface. Bernie Mora is one of the rare breed of guitarists that not only can play the notes but he makes the music. A solid and well crafted variety of tunes include "JB111" augmented with crisp horns and the raw rock edge of early Chicago. "Full Moon Funk" could pass as a legit riff on some early Tower of Power while the smoother side of the jazz street is crossed with the beautiful if not cinematic quality of "Into The Sunset."
There have been other artists put together release with seemingly similar intention but none have the musicianship to carry it off as well as Bernie Mora & Tangent.
Artist comparison is inherently unfair but the influences are undeniable. What makes Dandelion work so well is the ability of Mora to take these influences and create his own very unique if not slightly addictive artistic voice.
This is a stealth release that could slip quietly under your radar if the old school straight up funk infused jazz nasty is what you crave.
4 Stars with a bullet!
Tracks: Twilight Tango; JB 111; Grand Central; Slippery When Wet; Dandelion; Canyon Walls; Full Moon Funk; Into The Sunset.
Personnel: Doc Anthony: drums; Robert Vance: bass; Bernie Mora: guitar; Corey Allen: keyboards; Doug Webb: all saxes and woodwinds; Lee Thornburg: all horns; Munyungo Jackson: percussion; Charles Godfrey: Guido on Into The Sunset; Howard Steele & Charles Godfrey: tag team shakers on Full Moon Funk.
Special Thanks to Jim at Jazz Promo Services.