Kevin Eubanks

Spiritalk 2

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Two years after releasing the original Spiritalk, Kevin Eubanks reunites the same group of musicians for another collection of organic fusion compositions. Drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith, regardless of what one might think of him in general, simply smokes in situations like this. He is absolutely unchained, playing with the energy (and seemingly the limbs) of two or more men. Smith and Eubanks interact like McLaughlin and Cobham, or Morse and Morgenstein. Some of the most exciting moments on Spiritalk 2 are those in which their high-octane improvisations threaten to run out of control. The unusual sonorities created by this band are due in large part to the trombone of Robin Eubanks and the alto flute of Kent Jordan. It is a pleasingly warm sound, which fits in well with the masterful bass of Dave Holland and contrasts nicely with Smith's explosive power and Kevin Eubanks' snaky lines. It is a wonderful fusion. The leader is joined on guitar by Gerald Moore on two cuts, and the two interface nicely. At times on "Revelations," their interaction is reminiscent of the Al Di Meola/Paco de Lucia/John McLaughlin trios that took place in the early '80s. On tracks such as "Moon," the McLaughlin influence is even more pronounced, with a guitar intro that is extremely similar to McLaughlin's "Guardian Angel." Also guesting is drummer Gene Jackson, who subs for Smith on "Being." Jackson approaches the music in basically the same way as Smith, but perhaps with a little less rock and a little more Elvin Jones thrown into the mix. A cross between Oregon and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Kevin Eubanks' Spiritalk band is extremely unique. The nine compositions tend to run together in the mind of the listener a bit, but the excitement of these musicians is infectious.

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