First impressions carry weight, and Charles Wright's The Time Is Wright hits that Allan Holdsworth place in your mind. Wright's chordal phrasing and voicing and the rhythm drive/chord pluckings have that definite Holdsworthian touch. But after that the comparison ends. The Charles Wright Trio then sets off on its own brand of quality jazz fusion execution and songwriting. Guitars, guitar synth, bass, and drums are played exceptionally well, tight, clean, inventively, and best of all, hold your attention due to their novel sound. Wright sometimes leans clean in his tone like Wayne Johnson or a mellowed Mike Stern. You also hear echoes of the Elliot Freedman Group, but then Wright goes riffing off into another unique voicing and phrasing with the grace of a Frank Gambale-esque moment. Wright has a great deal of tricks up his sleeve that serve to satisfy with Sean Peck and Mike Pryor flawlessly flowing alongside in counterpoint and unison. "Lucky Charm," with its march-like "call to battle" balladic flow, is similar to the Dixie Dregsian side of Magic Elf in its hard-picked, funked attack, and upbeat push aka "high energy complexity." Flashes of Djam Karet-ish progressive rock are detected as well. Need some vintage solo Al DiMeola/Santana/Joe Satriani rock with plenty of that '70s fusion edge? Then be sure to cue up the outro track, "Celestial Ceremony," where Pryor gets to stretch some. Final analysis: strong fusion, no flash, just right, tight, with novel moments, a must for fusion and guitar fans.
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