Screaming Headless Torsos

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1995 Review

by Glenn Astarita

This is a 2002 reissue of the original CD by guitar hero David "Fuze" Fiuczynski's Screaming Headless Torsos quintet. Along with two previously unissued tracks (Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" and George Harrison's "Something), this outing provides an early glimpse of one of the most powerful jazz-rock units to emerge in quite some time. On the other hand, perhaps the brand of music heard here could be akin to shock therapy treatment. Vocalist Dean Bowman adds a lot of character to this quintet as he raps, croons, and scats atop an assortment of high-octane pieces, consisting of funk motifs, jazzy progressions, and tricky time signatures. Dynamics abound, partly due to the rhythm section's razor-sharp precision and seemingly impossible technical gymnastics. Fiuczynski leads the charge via his often slithery attack, marked by screeching crescendos, blazing single-note leads, and swiftly executed chord voicings. However, the group lowers the generally excitable proceedings down a notch or two during their soul-blues rendition of "Little Wing." The band's slightly in-your-face demeanor provides the knockout punch, yet it's not all about aimless or frenzied chops fests. On this release, the musicians rise to the occasion amid 14 solid tracks that cover quite a bit of terrain. Recommended.

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