Rob Hart's a Berklee alum, gigs the San Francisco scene, and managed to snag Fareed Haque, Kai Eckhardt, Stu Hamm, and several others as sit-ins on 3000 Realms of 10 Worlds. The disc isn't really a trio, as the line-up changes from trio to quartet and back again from cut to cut, but that's not unusual, and I'm really not sure who comprises the basic configuration anyway (the liner notes are a bit murky on that). More than anything, though, this sometimes reminds me of an old Kudu release, which means you get some great funk, a good deal of modern jazz, some rock, and even a bit of cheeze here and there.
Tis, for instance, is classic nightclub funk, especially with Eric Levy's period organ, verging into 70s Whiskey eclectic rock sneaking over into preliminary hi-gloss prog. Led Zeppelin's Kashmir, however, long since overdone by approximately 3,214,678,901 groups, suffers from a case of Da Cheezoid Stank, the uncredited keyboardist's ill-chosen synth patch throwing what promised to be a mellifluously exotic acoustic recitation into Abba-land. Only Eckhardt's bass solo and Hart's drumwork (more on the Moon-y side than Bonham-esque) salvage the cut, which is otherwise throwaway. The Beatles' I Will, on the other hand, once past the puzzling intro, is a matter of Charles Lloyd meeting a reggae band with a cool Jean-Jacques Perry-ish mini-moog thrown in. The shining moment, however, is Saffron, the track with the inimitable Haque.
That cut also best exemplifies the experimentation going on in 3000 Realms as meter, mode, and mindset change all over the place. Ron Muscat drops in on bass and takes charge in a muscular display, inserting the song's highlight just before Hart solos. As the disc progressed, I was a little reminded of sections of some of Jonas Hellborg's CDs, save that Hart's too much the eclectician here, so much so that focus is often lost, and The Dreaded Noodle Factor takes over more than it should. Xaminer, in fact, is nothing but an excursion in exactly that, nor is the audio balance what it should be. The composition comes off like a premature take from a 70s prog LP reaching beyond itself or an 80s neoprogfusion effort that wasn't sure what it wanted to do in the first place. At any rate, what 3000 Realms started out as is not what it ended up being, everything with everything, and I suspect all it would take to remedy problems would be to import a good outside producer next time around. There's way too much talent here to end up with what turns out to be a friends-just-fucking-around session.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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