Posted by flotz on Monday, February 7, 2011 | Live Review

Super group of players at Jazz Alley right now in a rare configuration that may not be seen again. Known as Spectrum Road, Jack Bruce, John Medeski, Vernon Reid and Cindy Blackman (Santana) played last night at Jazz Alley. It is in tribute to Tony Williams Lifetime, who Bruce played with back in the day. They play again tonight. If yr a fan of aggressive jazz fusion of the sonically mind bending variety, go!  (For a little more of the back story about the band and Tony Williams, check this article out.)

Saw last night’s late set and they tore it up. Cindy Blackman is a titan on the drums.  She walked onstage wearing jeans, leather jacket, carrying her purse and then proceeded to rip it up all night long. She unleashed on the kit, letting Bruce hold the foundation while she went off.  She’s fierce – Reid commented as much when he introduced the band.  Most of the songs were wild rides, psychedelic, textured, syncopated, these monster players all contributing to a heady stew.  Didn’t catch all the compositions, but were tunes both by Jan Hammer and Larry Young.  Bruce sang a couple times, once weird incantations that were maybe Gaelic, maybe something else.  Reid is such a shredder. Occasionally you could he and Blackman lock in and go off. Medeski can coax crazy sounds out of his keys, adding mad texture to stew. Final song was less challenging on the ears, a groove that let them funk it out. Came back out for encore and played a Miles Davis tune from In A Silent Way.

Here’s a pic of Reid’s pedals – look at the spread of digital effects boards -- not just analog pedals for him!