Andrea Marcelli


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In the '90s, it seemed that many of jazz's A&R people (as least at the major labels) were interested in either one of two things -- if they weren't going after hard bop-oriented, standards-obsessed "Young Lions" in Armani suites, they were focusing on smooth jazz. Either they were looking for the next Kenny G. or the next Wynton Marsalis. That wasn't good news for fusion, which didn't get any respect from either bop snobs or NAC radio in the '90s. Nonetheless, quality fusion was still being recorded -- you just had to know where to look. And one of the places to look was Lipstick Records, a small independent label that made fusion its main focus during that decade. Released in 1994, this little-known CD by drummer Andrea Marcelli is typical of Lipstick's jazz-rock output. Oneness didn't receive a lot of attention, and it was the only album that Marcelli recorded for Lipstick. Nonetheless, it's a decent effort that employs some noteworthy players, including Allan Holdsworth (electric guitar), Chuck Loeb (electric guitar), Gary Willis (electric bass), Jimmy Johnson (electric bass), and Kei Akagi (acoustic piano). Marcelli, who produced the album and wrote all of the material, isn't a bad composer at all. Nothing groundbreaking occurs, but most of the tracks are likable fusion along the lines of Weather Report, the Yellowjackets, and Chick Corea's Elektric Band. Overall, Marcelli's work tends to be intellectual yet lyrical and melodic, but regrettably, even the disc's most accessible tracks were too spontaneous and improvisatory for NAC/smooth jazz radio; to put it bluntly, Oneness had too much of a brain for the NAC stations of 1994. Not a five-star masterpiece, but certainly respectable, Oneness is worth searching for if you're a die-hard fusion addict.

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