Jerry Goodman returned to action after a decade's layoff with On the Future of Aviation in 1985, surprising fans of his jazz-rock fusion playing in the Flock and the Mahavishnu Orchestra by turning to highly synthesized new age composing and downplaying his trademark violin soloing. 1986's Ariel was a half-step back to the more familiar style, its rock rhythms serving as a bed for violin excursions. It's Alive, on which Goodman takes his band to the Park West in Chicago for a night, is, not surprisingly, even more of a crowd pleaser. There are tunes lifted from the two albums and some new ones added, plus an entertaining version of "Theme From Perry Mason" for a closer, and Goodman is usually front and center with violin in hand, though he does allow the band, which features two synthesizers, occasional room to shine. The live environment lends impetus to this studio-created music, and it sometimes takes on the fervor of the old Mahavishnu shows. Fusion fans may still wish for more, but It's Alive almost deserves to be put in the jazz section rather than the new age one.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
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