Electric fusion returns in a big way on Cause and Effect, featuring one of fusion's pioneering guitarists, one of the second wave's top keyboard contributors, and a fusion Journey-man on the drums. Indeed, Larry Coryell was there at the birth of jazz-rock fusion as a member of the Gary Burton Quartet on the seminal Duster LP; Tom Coster was the keys man and a key player in the second incarnation of Santana in the 1970s; and Steve Smith hooked up with first generation Santana alumni in Journey. Smith was the catalyst for this explosive, electric summit meeting, single-handedly revitalizing the fusion genre with a series of all-star sessions including this one. Most of the numbers here were made up in the studio as the players jammed. Consequently, the spontaneity is obvious, and the trio has a lot of fun letting out all the stops. It's quite a change from the smooth textures Coryell had been putting out in recent years. Because of the free-flowing nature of the process, there are few real melodies here, but there are some great licks. Coryell's composition "Bubba" is a fine piece of funk, and his "First Things First" slithers seductively along on Coster's B-3 bed. The closing "Finale: Wes and Jimi" provides an appropriate denouement to the proceedings, while paying tribute to two of the genre's most important forebears. The obvious point of reference here is the Tony Williams Lifetime, and those familiar with that group's sound will be taken back to those heady days. However, these guys have managed to recall that exploratory era while creating their own fresh slant, resulting in a one-shot recording that deserves to be heard.
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AllMusic Review by Jim Newsom