Stone Alliance

Stone Alliance

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Stone Alliance's eponymous debut album begins with percussionist Don Alias and bassist Gene Perla setting the table with a subtle Afro-Cuban rhythm and then, before the album is even 90 seconds in, the rhythm catches fire and in comes saxophonist Steve Grossman with a torrential solo. The power trio rarely lets up from there. Whether it's the breakneck, white-flame burn on tracks like the aforementioned "Vaya Mulatto" or "Duet" or "Samba De Negro," Stone Alliance is like a sonic hurricane. Yeah, it slows down for a hip rendering of Stevie Wonder's "Creepin'," but that's about the only breather you get. "Sweetie Pie" -- probably the album's best know song, sampled for '90s rap group Original Flavor's "Blowin Up the Spot" -- might not feel like an assault, but the funk is so nasty it makes you scowl. And then there's the album's highlight, "King Tut," a smoldering, deliberate, militant march with Alias and Grossman challenging each other to frenzy and Perla in the cut like a jazzy Bootsy Collins. These three musicians had teamed up two years prior for Grossman's debut Some Shapes to Come. That was a much more cohesive, ambitious album from an artistic standpoint. This album is a looser, more rebellious effort and a must hear for '70s jazz fans.

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