"It's not jazz, it's not rock - it's fusion folks! Somehow this genre came and went and only held onto a "cult" following, which never made any sense to me. This proves the beginning of the breakdown of art when assimilated with the American mainstream. Instead of pointing fingers, why don't we praise this album!This album succeeds on many different levels. First off, it's music only Chick can make. He's got his own style and feel (and that brain!!!) and way of composing. Innovation and originality take him way above the rest. Then there's his playing. It's highly skilled and busy, but it all stays within the paramters of his intentions. Music on all levels - melody, harmony, dynamics, timbre, etc. - make this project very unique. Again, it's not jazz, but it's an indescribable blend of styles that only someone like Chick can make. It's the best thing this side of progrock. The only thing that may turn listeners away (not me though!) is the use of timbre. The "1986-ness" is inescapable, meaning that fusion here did exactly what it was supposed to - put a jazz brain into rock production and feel. Which to me is one of the best combinations there is. But for this album, be advised, the rock production is alive and well here - ok, it's oozing all over. The synth sounds are very 80's - if very Chick. Some of the snare sounds have a big gated verb, and the guitars are distinctive of the period as well. If you flat-out hate 80's rock, this album may be questionable for you.My own personal complaint (though not all that huge) is the ironic lack of structure in an overly structured effort. Each of the 99 trillion notes here are often placed in a well planned out fashion, but some songs as a whole do have the "jazz syndrome", i.e. they go on for quite awhile, and one gets lost as to where they are in the song unless one is tuned in to the musical "conversation", which often requires much effort. That's a side effect of the otherwise noble attempt to combine the freedom of jazz into an almost song-like format. The only thing that helps you stay with it is either a) having the audio actually memorized in your head (which I do since I've listened to this 8 million times) or b) like with the purpose of jazz, staying with the "communication" of the soloist. It's just that that is very hard to do with the music of Chick Corea, as his brain is on another planet. Sometimes it's also very difficult to stay with the rhythms of genius drummer Dave Weckl. Thus, I probably give this an aesthetic rating of 4 stars, though since that is just my inferior brain talking, there's no reason to call this anything less than a 5 star accomplishment.For proof of my minor interjections, first try on the great successes "Side Walk" and "Elektric City" for starters. They have all the aforementioned elements of ChickFusion, but they are short and/or have great feel (check out those guitar riffs!). Hands down, they pull off what fusion sets out to do. My favorite songs in the world are over 10 minutes long, but with a jazzer you gotta be careful - next, check out "King Cockroach" and "Silver Temple" for comparison - Nice build-ups make up for their midsong noodlings, but it gets a bit unnecessarily strectched to around 7 and 9 minutes, respectively. Ironic that this "what-is-going-on-noodling" is the very thing that rock guitar solos get blamed for, when I find most of those highly emotional. Basically, it comes down to this; maybe some songs need to be 24 minutes long. But as a craftsman of songs myself, I follow rule number one; when the song tells you it's done, end it.Many metalheads claim the more you think, the more you interfere with the point of music. That I will defend. Chick Corea may be on another level, but NOBODY deserves to be blamed for how much is in his or her brain. Intellectual stimulation IS a key component to many people's music.A lot of work went into this recording. Whatever you think, there's no denying that a) you would be well-off to own this nomatter who you are and b) Chick is the man."
Par excellence, vintage, essential purchase.
paul_b21 | Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire United Kingdom | 07/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you have not heard Chick Corea's Elektric Band ..... where the hell have you been ? You are in for a real surprise. The first of the Bands' albums may well be the best one, and I've never heard anything like it since. I've been lucky enough to see them play live a few times, and I have never seen a band play as tight, and with as much attention to aural quality and detail as this lot. Live, sounds just like the album. Amazing. Light Years is a nice alternative, if you like a slightly less frenetic sound, and more 'space' in the production. BUY BUY BUY. If anyone knows of any other music remotely like this ........ let me know please (firstname.lastname@example.org). PS I have own a signed copy by Chick! Yeeessss."
The Makings of a Band
Robert Graden | Eugene, OR | 08/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've only listened to this disc once since receiving it. My first Elektric Band CD I bought in 1988: _Eye of the Beholder_. By then Chick had a more or less permanent lineup until after _Beneath the Mask_. I think the addition of Frank Gambale after the CD in question made a huge difference for the better in the band's career. In my opinion, the best disc by this version of the Elektric Band is _Inside Out_, released I believe in 1990. The tightness of the band at that point is what is suggested by the pinball game on the cover: machine-like, which to some will be offensive, but to others will be something superhuman and awesome. I'm a bass player, and it's nice to hear where Patitucci got his start; but if you want to hear him realizing his own vision, I suggest especially his first two solo albums (_Patitucci_ and _On the Corner_). His experiments with world music also merit attention. The first two Patitucci albums happened before he moved from the Smith-Jackson Contrabass to the Yamaha stuff. If nothing else, the first Elektric Band album is a good place to hear a bit of that Ken Smith bass - though I was disappointed that some tracks seemed to lack bass guitar entirely. On the whole, a lot of tight bebop riffs and stuff, but I'd move on to _Eye of the Beholder_ and _Inside Out_ if I were you."
Among top five fusion albums ever
Arhippa Kaurapuuro | Helsinki, Finland | 08/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was my first "jazz" album. I had seen the parody of Chick Corea (or Trick Corea as they called him) in Finnish TV-show and I decided to try this. The sounds and playing on this album are superb. Corea is the best fusion composer and his bandmates Weckl and Patitucci are sometimes even claimed to be the very best musicians on their instruments. I also love Carlos Rios' sound and I think that it is pity that Gambale replaced him later. Rios adds some elements to his fast jazz-scale playing that sound like claptonisque blues licks for me.Synthsounds of mid 80s are very funny. I have searched other fusion album like this but in vain."
Electric jazz at it's finest
Arhippa Kaurapuuro | 12/27/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With Dave Weckl on drums, Chick Corea created one the most influencial contemporary jazz albums of the decade, if not the millenium. All top notch arrangements and playing make this album a CLASSIC. A must buy."