JEFF RICHMAN - Fusion and Rock jams Guitar - LIVE - The Baked Potato - " aka Eclectic Earwig Reviews Music and More for You!"
HOME PAGE, prog rock, jazz fusion, jazz rock, jazz, pysch/trance, space, electronic, ambient, essentially eclectic excellence HOME PAGE


 Live at the Baked Potato Volume One and Two (Tone
Center/Shrapnel, 2001)

These two CDs feature twelve tracks of live fusion culled from guitarist
Jeff Richman's gigs at the "new" Baked Potato club in Los Angeles during
1999-2000.  The list of semi-famous fusion players on the covers,
including Vinnie Colaiuta, Steve Tavaglione, Dave Weckl, Dave Carpenter,
Simon Phillips, and Danny Gottlieb, make this look like another Tone
Center fusion "project" band that was thrown together in the studio and
recorded before the all-star members had to go back to their real
bands.  However, as Richman's liner notes detail, the list of players
just represents some of the LA fusion musicians he booked as the ad hoc
band lineups for his regular live gigs at the Baked Potato.   Many of
these shows were recorded, but the players had no idea that they would
ever be released.

The two Baked Potato CDs present highlights of originals and
standards played by Richman's various live bands.  Although each CD
contains only six tracks, many of these are extended live explorations
and jams, so both still clock in over an hour.  Most of the tunes are
Richman originals, which are solid compositions, in addition to single
songs written by drummer Simon Phillips and trumpeter Jeff Beal, who
both play on their tunes, Marcus Miller, Jan Hammer, the Peter Gabriel
'new standard' "Mercy Street" that Herbie Hancock covered, and the
Gershwin classic "I Got Rhythm."  Both CDs contain a mix of tracks by
six different lineups, cleverly spreading out the lineup variety on each

The music bounces along with an electric jazz feel, with plenty of
walking bass lines and ride cymbal work, only occasionally diverging
into more strident 60s fusion type sounds.  The renditions of "Mercy
Street," Phillips' "Dreamscape," and Richman's "Kamaroon" particularly
stand out from some of the slower tempo Richman originals.  Richman's
sharp tone and scratchy guitar style run as the only consistent thread
through all twelve tracks, effectively supporting the background rhythm
when necessary and stepping up to the forefront when appropriate.

These musicians are not as famous as the players in many of the Tone
Center studio projects, but none of those bands were interacting live in
front of an audience like the Baked Potato lineups.  Fusion, like
the jazz it is descended from, takes on an extra spark and life when
played live, with the band members interacting and responding to an
audience.  Although the original songwriting is nothing landmark, both
of the Baked Potato CDs have a live spark that the Tone Center
studio projects just don't have, stretching and developing the tunes,
and you can hear the members of the different bands interacting.

Richman and Co. aren't blazing any new ground in playing or writing
here, but they do give skillful and relaxed live performances of
original tunes and a few standards.  Both volumes of Live at the
Baked Potato are great examples of really good live playing,
completely pure since they had no idea it would be released.  Live at
the Baked Potato sounds like a really good local jazz fusion band,
if you're lucky enough to live in a city that even has such a thing.  If
you're not, pick up both volumes of Live at the Baked Potato and
chuck them in your CD changer, and you'll get a two hour set of solid
fusion that crackles with live energy despite the lack of any superstar
players or writers.

Reviewed by Scott Andrews []

More Info:

Listen to samples & Buy CDs/DVDs here

CD/DVD Shopping Quick Links




To purchase this recording and get more info, soundclips, etc.


OR . . .

Please visit my BUY IT E.E.R. NOW INDEX PAGE
Please try my brand spankin' new

buyer's guide to recommended music.

OR ...
go to my LINKS page and find the vendors' section.
Happy hunting!

Observe how the word
wheel reverses direction
if you try and read words. HOME PAGE