A too-good-to-be-true package for aspiring jazz drummers everywhere, this incredible product features one disc of the best selections of the legendary fusion drummer's last three Stretch Records releases, and a special DVD with highlights from his three instructional videos put out by Carl Fischer. The ten tracks arguably feature some of modern jazz fusion's most adventurous jams and give hope that the genre that's not either traditional or smooth jazz can still thrive. The funk-drenched "Wet Skin" is Weckl's retro-soul-minded tribute to James Brown, with Brandon Fields' sax doubling ensembling with Jay Oliver's sly organ harmonies and Buzz Feiton's crisp and punch-rock guitar licks. "Alegria" means happiness, and the tune with that title is in turn wild and optimistic, a honking jam featuring Fields on tenor, soprano, and alto flute. Steve Weingart's feisty Fender Rhodes improvisations also give off an old soul fusion effect. The same sort of powerfully electric, intensely rhythmic horn-section vibe pervades the disc, with Weckl experimenting with meters and bringing in outside percussion on occasion. Steve Tavalione is also featured in sax on a few cuts, as is guitarist Frank Gambale -- all the best Los Angeles fusion freaks. Disc two is a DVD video sampler containing highlights from Weckl's three instructional videos available from Carl Fischer, in which the drummer provides insights into how to play effortlessly and organically (or "In the Zone"), how to develop technique, how to practice, and how to develop an original sound. Weckl writes in his liner notes that to him The Zone is a state "in which everything appears to be working on its own, with no effort involved." That pretty much describes his natural ability with the skins, and this set shows that he's eager to pass on the legacy.
AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran