F-5

Dodging the Dream Killers

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For every genuine fusion album that was recorded in the late 1990s, there were numerous crossover dates recorded with so-called "light jazz" radio formats in mind. One release that contained little light jazz and focused mainly on fusion was Dodging the Dream Killers by F-5, a four-piece band consisting of veteran rock session players Michael Reese (electric guitar), Tommy Stephenson (keyboards), Stan Sheldon (electric bass) and Alex Velasquez (drums). These weren't guys who'd spent ten years on the road with McCoy Tyner or Jackie McLean. Sheldon was known for playing on Peter Frampton's 1976 smash Frampton Comes Alive, while Stephenson's credits included Eric Clapton, the Eagles and Joe Walsh. But when the time came to work in an instrumental setting and do some blowing, they demonstrated that they could handle the challenge and provide a decent fusion of jazz, rock and pop. Songs ranging from the mysterious "Hot Dry Feet" and the pensive "Jessica" to the oddly catchy "Tommy's Toona" aren't in a class with Return To Forever, Weather Report or the Mahavishnu Orchestra, but they do show that session players can be spontaneous and creative when given the chance. As melodic as this CD is, most of it proved too edgy for many light jazz programmers, but at least F-5 had the satisfaction of making a worthwhile album.

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