From the 1970s to the '90s, Muse was best known for straight-ahead jazz, hard bop, and organ combos. On the Edges of White was unusual for Muse in that it found the New York label (whose catalog was acquired by 32 Jazz in the late '90s) flirting with fusion and crossover. But rest assured that Muse didn't compromise its integrity one iota with this challenging CD, which was the first American release by Argentinean guitarist Fernando Tarrés. Comparable to the electric explorations of Weather Report, Miles Davis, and the Yellowjackets, White finds Tarrés combining jazz with pop and funk as well as Argentinean, Brazilian, and Andean music. The session is orchestral and heavily arranged -- Tarrés is joined by full-blown string and horn sections -- and yet, there's enough room for some lyrical solos from Tarrés, Scandinavian soprano saxophonist Ole Mathisen and others. This intellectual yet highly melodic effort won't appeal to bop's hardliners, but for fusion lovers, it's well worth searching for.
On the Edges of White Review
by Alex Henderson