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December 1998

Frank Gambale/Stuart Hamm/Steve Smith
Show Me What You Can Do
Tone Center

In a showcase of intelligent hard-fusion, guitarist Frank Gambale, bassist Stuart Hamm and drummer Steve Smith blowtorch a razor sharp trail through their first recorded outing as a trio, Show Me What You Can Do (Tone Center TC 40012; 57:42). Fans of tightly wound fusion timing and flights of improvisation will enjoy the trio's tight showmanship on tracks like album opener "Bad Intent"-a rollicking hard-slap piece colored with Gambale's harmonic splashes, and "Dangerous Curves," which finds revolutions of guitar accentuating ticking rhythms before bursting wide open. The guys hit their marks and changes with astounding accuracy, especially considering that the album was recorded in only nine days. "Astral Traveler" moves effortlessly and artfully from a whisper to a squeal, soaring on whammy-bar vibrations, and "The Promise" builds on a fuzzy electric refrain, changing its timing dramatically as Gambale's guitar sobs in searing rock tones. Most illustrative of the band's easy give-and-take is "Sink," a loping, off-beat tune which finds all three instruments moving in unique counterpoint to one another, yet fitting together like a tightly constructed jigsaw puzzle.

Originally published in December 1998
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