For their debut release, Pikto's Metamorphosis chose to create a live tribute to some of Jazz-Rock Fusion's most influencial artists (tracks are composed by Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea, Dave Grusin, David Sancious, Michael Walden)
This recording captures the band live at an NJ PRoghouse event at the Soundwaves Academy on 28 May, 2011.
Piano, Keyboards, Composer, Arrangements
When I had first caught sight of this band name, I was instantly curious of them, as an unabashed fanboy of David Sancious and Tone I was well aware that the name was from a title song from his Transformation - The Speed of Love from back in the 1970's. And what an excellent album that was, many of my old friends would agree, as that album was passed around quite a few turntables before I got it back, scratched beyond belief. So what is this band using that song name for a band name? I wondered, well doing some research led me to their website, however, no cd or music was available at the time.
I nearly had forgotten about them, until I was updating old bookmarks on my PC, and came across that one, clicked, and discovered that the band was presently releasing their first CD, I contacted them and received this nice little package. The cover art kind of mimics the Speed of Love art, but doesn't copy it. And the rest is fairly humble stuff, but that is not important, it's the music. The band has chosen to feature their debut cd as a live show, that is all covers of some of greatest jazzrock from the greatest era of the music's history. Any fusion fanatic will be well versed on these tunes, and will also be satisfied with the execution, and performances that are delivered by this unknown quartet, who hopefully will not only reach a new audience, but will also continue to do what they obviously love. And who knows, maybe create some of their own masterpieces.
The disc starts with a rendition of After the Cosmic Rain, A Stanley Clarke composition from RTF's - Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy albums, and I could hardy believe the recording was live, until a bit of crowd response chimed in late in the tune, the sonic quality of this recording is very pristine, and the execution of this song is first rate, these guys are the real deal. They do take their liberties to embellish solo sections for the opportunity to display their given talents, and perform quite well. I mean, your talking about covering some of the greatest musicians ever to play music in any genre. And they do so, with great results.
Next is another RTF song, 02 - Sorceress, Lenny White's contribution to the Romantic Warrior album, and again, perfectly done. At this point I have been pleasantly impressed with this bands standards of performance, sound, and chemistry, in a live setting, they are very professional, and manage to capture most of the unique nuances of the original studio recording. Song 03 - is No Mystery, from the RTF record of the same name, which allows you to hear some of the band's acoustic talents, and again, excellent.
The album continues to impress song after song, and the band takes a few stylistic challenges by doing a song from a fairly recent Stanley Clarke solo cd, with The Toys of Men, and tackle a great tune from Dave Grusin's Mountain Dance album from 1980, great song that features the keyboard talents of Mark Stasio, who has been nothing short of excellent through this cd. Finally song 07 - Suite Cassandra, delivers what I was expecting to hear from this band with the curious name, and that is a David Sancious song, Suite Cassandra came from Sancious' - 1975 release, Forest of Feelings, and you know what, again, excellent, no surprise I guess, as the bassist - Dave Mooney was a Gerald Carboy student, and also studied with fusion great - Barry Miles.
Next, on song 08 - Ever the Same, the band performs a great tune from Sancious and Tone's - True Stories from 1978, this was originally a vocal song, and a beautiful one at that, the band takes an instrumental approach to perform this, and while I miss the glorious vocals, they do a fantastic job again, covering the absence of vocals with great form. Next on song 09 - The Forest Of Feelings, we get yet another Sancious song, a keyboard virtuoso's dream, as this song was one that really featured the finger dexterity of Sancious doing his signature trade offs, with himself. Great job!
Song 10 - Cosmic Strut, is a Narada Michael Walden composition from the Mahavishnu Orchestra's - Visions of the Emerald Beyond recording from 1975. Nice to hear this tune being covered, just showcasing the band's versatility covering some of the very best bands from that era. On song 11 - Romantic Warrior, from RTF's incredible album of the same name, we really get to hear the band being featured on each instrument, fantastic job here as well. And again, I need to remind myself that not only is this NOT RTF, but a live recording. The cd ends with song 12 - Prelude #3, another Sancious piece off the True Stories album, and they nailed it.
After hearing this cd, I had to revisit many of these recordings, as Picktor's Metamorphosis reminded not only how great this era of music was, but what kindred spirits the musicians in the band are to my own musical tastes. I hope people get a chance to check this band out, find the cd, and beg them for more.