Keyboardist Alan Pasqua is one of those jazz cats who grew successful in pop music. Pasqua toured for years with Bob Dylan and Carlos Santana. Before that, in the mid-1970's he was recruited to be in Tony Williams' Lifetime, led by the former Miles Davis drummer.
Pasqua reignites the jazz flame with this sextet that uses 1970s funk as a starting point. The set also includes some requisite spaciness and a knack for melody amid the beats. The title track is a cool, slinky number that leads to a lip-splattering climax. "George Russell," named for Pasqua's teacher at the New England Conservatory of Music, sounds as if it could be coming out of a 1970s Cadillac. The big bass line sets up some keyboard histrionics.
The session is both acidic and spiritual. "Prayer" quivers handsomely without a steady pulse, while "Fast Food"throbs with Jimmy Haslip's bass and Nels Cline's guitar. Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and saxophonist Jeff Ellwood offer up some heavy horn work on this set that looks forward and backward, and has fun doing it. -by Karl Stark