While he's primarily a drummer and vibraphonist, Charles Xavier's incredibly diverse résumé includes developing electronic drums for Tom Petty, creating computer scores for pop singer Martika, and doing FX sampling sessions for legendary rockers like Ray Manzarek; working with some partners, he also facilitated video productions for everyone from ZZ Top to Garth Brooks and Luther Vandross. Part social commentary, part spoken word (with some rap) and backed by the exuberant spirit of wild and crazy electronic free jazz, The Xman Cometh is a unique hodgepodge that draws on Xavier's many talents. Launching with the oddly appealing funk-jazz number "They Say," Xavier embarks on a journey which cruises Hollywood's streets in search of sex, politics and a little street hustle. The tracks with actual singing ("Gonna Change America") work more effectively than the spoken word poetry on top of the jazz on tracks like the Hurricane Katrina commentary "American Refugee," but the intention of every song, no matter how rhythmic and melodic, is to create an unforgettable statement about human rights, class struggle and how to change "the system" (even at the risk of self-indulgence). More conventional jazz fans might just wish Xavier would X out the vocals and leave in the exquisite musicianship. This is created by a handful of L.A.'s best underrated working musicians are on hand, including one time smooth jazz star saxman Sam Riney, trumpeter Warren Gale, Frankie "Blue" Sposato and synthesist Barry Reynolds. Then again, Xavier does warn us to expect the unexpected -- and there was nothing else like this out in 2006.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran