Jeff Arenson | Colorado Springs, CO United States | 02/09/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Truth in Shredding" is precisely what this disc is. Originally released on the now defunct Legato Records label over a decade ago, this CD has now been rereleased by TONECENTER. When I first heard this CD back in the early nineties I would have given it 5 stars. Now, however, my tastes are a bit different but it still rates a strong four.
This disc is all about chops. Allan Holdsworth and Frank Gambale are the featured soloists, but Jimmy Earl(Bass), Freddy Ravel(Keyboards), Steve Tavaglione(Sax and EWI) and Tommy Brechtlein(Drums) are all given a chance to stretch out on one tune or another. Gambale and Holdsworth contribute on every song and their playing, at the time of recording had never been better. This CD is the prelude to all of the Tonecenter all-star band discs that happened many years later.
The music is Jazz-Fusion with plenty of emphasis on soloing. All of the songs, except for one, are covers. 'New Boots' is a Frank Gambale original and a different version of this song is on a Vital Information CD. The covers are 3 Brecker Brothers songs: "Rocks", "Not Ethiopia" and "Bathsheba"; a Chick Corea composition, "Humpty Dumpty" and 2 Wayne Shorter pieces, "The Fall" and "Ana Maria". The guys in the band go ballistic over these fusion standards.
If you just want to hear some musicians going chops crazy then this disc is for you. Holdsworth and Gambale are simply incredible and a G3 type of tour would have been priceless. This is not for anyone wanting to hear original compositions, or compositions that are Holdsworthesque.(unless you're unfamiliar with the covers) A lot of fun and TONECENTER has also rereleased CENTRIFUGAL FUNK which feature Gambale, Brett Garsed and the late great Shawn Lane on guitar. Self-indulgent, virtuostic madness done right."
This does have Holdsworth- and it SHINES!
Carl Johnson | Detroit, MI United States | 12/03/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Mark Varney Project is made up of technically proficient players, but to me the compositions some a bit too line-chart driven. This is a hard jazz-fusion recording to be sure! But this record is different. On THIS record, this tendency is off set by the masterful guitar work of Allan Holdsworth. I have to admit, I do have a grudge or axe to grind with this record as The Mark Varney Project Records have been mislabeled as Allan Holdsworth albums (not by Amazon though!). Allan does play on this record and it is a good spin with all the musicians being masters of their instraments, but it is not a Holdsworth album. On Allan's Website, he likes his playing on this record a lot, and so do I. Definately, a worth while spin!"
"The GREATEST Fusion Guitar Album Ever!"
Daniel S. Sullivan | Gibbstown,N.J. USA | 05/29/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The year is 1990. Mark Varney puts the two best fusion guitarists on the planet together for this guitar tour-de-force; Frank Gambale, who in addition to his work with the Chick Corea Elektric Band, recorded three albums for Varney; and Allan Holdsworth, who's fusion resume included 2 albums with the Tony Williams Lifetime as well as several of his own albums. Gambale produced the recording, and assembled the band, which was comprised of bassist Jimmy Earl, saxophonist Steve Tavaglione, keyboardist Freddie Ravel & drummer Tom Brechtlein.
Gambale & the rhythm section tracked the album live in the studio, while Holdsworth over-dubbed his solos and mixed the album.
The set consisted of 3 Brecker Brothers tunes, 2 Wayne Shorter compositions, a Chick Corea tune and a Gambale original.
"Nowadays,thunderous and smoking jazzfusion ALBUMS are hard to find.Moreover this kind of music can be heard only on the few INTERNETRADIOs.To wipe out this sad situation,I recommend this to all the HARDCORE JAZZFUSIONFANS in the world.The incredible guitarist ALAN put himself to the max,delivering shredding solos,chasing the speed DEMONS like a spaceship worriors.Let's get started to the world of madness.High tension wired sound will salute your ears."