RocketNumberNine lives up to its promise
When your band has a name like RocketNumberNine you better be ready to do one of two things: (a) deliver on some serious space jams or (b) rock it like a serious son-of-a-gun.
I'm happy to report this duo does both, though more of the former than the latter.
The group is London-based brothers Tom Page on drums and Ben Page on synthesizer. Their sound is a bit sparse in that it sounds like two guys playing music together and not a study in overdubbing and studio layering. What you hear are some rather interesting drum rhythms bonded firmly with spacey and shimmering synthesizer craftsmanship.
At times these instrumentals feel a little lonely, but the album has a strong groove that doesn't sound like it was dumped out of a can.
Eric Slagle is a writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1965, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff Lorber Fusion
Heads Up International
I'm always interested in artists willing to tackle the music of the late, great Frank Zappa, so I was particularly interested when I saw Jeff Lorber was doing “King Kong” on his newest album, “Hacienda.”
Lorber's last couple of albums have produced reliably fusion-oriented jazz and this one is no exception. His take on “King Kong” is faithful to versions I've heard by Frank — it still swings albeit maybe a little more laid back a fashion — while managing to bring some new ideas to the delightful composition.
He gets help on the track from long ago Zappa band mates Ed Mann on marimba and Jean-Luc Ponty on violin. One-time Mothers drummer Vinnie Colaiuta also plays on the album.
Those personalities are all reason enough for me to be interested. However, I found the balance of the record to be a bit on the smooth side and less than inspiring. There were good musical moments but a lot of the time it failed to command my attention.
Eric Slagle is a writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or email@example.com.