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FAME Review: The Julien Kasper Band - Trance Groove
The Julien Kasper Band - Trance Groove

Trance Groove

The Julien Kasper Band

Toulcat Records - TR02

Available by download from

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

I guess I can agree with the title here, though I'd call the CD 'mellifluously cool-jazzed fusion music' more than 'trance groove', the latter having roots in Ibiza, bpm (beats per minute), and other electronica forms rendering few compliments in comparison to the righteously abstract meld of Holdsworth and Metheny that Julien Kasper favors. There's also more than a little of the Sargasso Sea benchmark that Ralph Towner and John Abercrombie issued many years ago.

Bassist Jesse Williams and drummer Zac Casher are as subtly imbued as Kasper, Williams oft reminiscent of the environments Julian Preister set for himself in the '74 Love Love release along with Henry Franklin (for those who imagined the then-named Pepo Mtoto was just a horns guy, think again and check that righteous LP out, you'll be surprised), Casher solid in his beats while playing around with patterns endlessly. Kasper can shred or slo-burn with the best of the strummers and pickers, and he's one of the very few guitarists I've ever heard who has a line on Alan Holdsworth's unique slurs. T. Lavitz, of the rightly enlegended Dixie Dregs, and Matt Benson sit in for some organ work, alternating the emphasis between trio and quartet format throughout.

The Bumpus is a great stand-out, eerie and balmily reassuring at the same time, tropic like one of those Steve Khan comps of the Where's Mumphrey era but also Isotope-y at times, minus the caffeine while fully in exploratory fusion synch. Kasper, at least in this slab, prefers an iced-out expressionism to the speedster mode he's more than capable of, so Trance Groove is an exercise in restraint and taste. Plug it in when you're driving the coastline at night rather than cruising the metro streets at rush hour -- unless, of course, you want to keep your sanity amid the hustle and blare, then it'll serve just as well.

Track List:

  • Trance Groove
  • Chupacabra
  • The Reverend
  • Trash Day
  • Abyssinia
  • Milk Truck
  • The Bumpus
  • Riff 53
  • Carolina Rosa
All songs written by Julien Kasper.

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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