(135) Troy Collins, All About Jazz -- October 2007

Alan Pasqua has studied with pianists Jaki Byard and George Russell,
and toured with artists as diverse as Stan Kenton to Tony Williams.
Studio sessions with Eddie Money, Bob Dylan, Carlos Santana, Rick
Springfield, Pat Benetar, Sammy Hagar and Whitesnake have also helped
pay the bills. A versatile musician, Pasqua brings a highly melodic
sensibility to the proceedings no matter the style or genre.

1970s stint in Tony Williams' New Lifetime, alongside guitarist Allan
Holdsworth, helped set the stage for this assertive effort. Heavily
influenced by the fusion-era work of Miles Davis, The Antisocial Club blends In A Silent Way-inspired atmospherics with On The Corner-styled grooves. A radical about-face from My New Old Friend,
(Cryptogramophone, 2005), Pasqua's intimate acoustic piano trio session
of primarily standard material, this session seethes with buzzing
analog electronics and sputtering harsh edges fueled by fulminating
vamps. Alternating
between liquid smooth grooves and raspy electronic outbursts, Pasqua
and company update classic fusion clichés with ardent commentary and
supple lyricism. “Prayer” and “Message To Beloved Souls Departed”
represent Pasqua's introspective side, while the Jekyll and Hyde
vacillation of the title track and the relentless metallic grind of
“Fast Food” showcase a more aggressive aspect. Trumpeter
Ambrose Akinmusire and saxophonist Jeff Ellwood make a robust
frontline, each delivering pithy, circuitous statements on the title
track. Pasqua ranges far and wide, delivering euphonious, percussive
piano lines that alternate with terse, textural assaults on an
overdriven Fender Rhodes. Ubiquitous
guitarist Nels Cline contributes wah-wah-fueled blast furnace
pyrotechnics on “George Russell” and “Fast Food.” “New Rhodes” and
“Wicked Good” knit sinister stop-time pacing and roiling polyrhythmic
energy to raucous communal expression. The Antisocial Club
is a high watermark in a growing number of records stylistically
indebted to the Dark Prince's seminal electronic period. Although no
new conceptual ground is broken, for fans of Miles Davis' late 1970s
work, the groove is deep and the funk is nasty. -Troy Collins-

Troy Collins
All About Jazz
October 2007