Grand Tour Alignment
Boasting almost equal parts power fusion, ambient effects and gentle acoustics, the music of Solar Wind is hard to define. What holds the consistently engaging Grand Tour Alignment (Chartmaker Jazz CMG 5010; 37:49) together is an adventurous spirit, attention to detail and a futuristic, almost sci-fi thread running throughout the album. The duo of bassist Sean Mason and guitarist Eric Robson have many tools in their arsenal to achieve this forward-looking feel. Mason wraps "Paradise"-a compelling mix of acoustics and special effects, featuring Eric Marienthal's sterling alto melody-in a low-bubbling bass line, which revolves and keeps the netherworld spirit moving. "Sun Coast" rocks a little harder with pump-and-pop funk bass set against ringing, outland keyboard effects, but stays catchy and immediate. A pair of highlights here also accentuate the extremes of this solid effort: where "No Look Pass" is a shredding, fusion knuckleball (and features one of the kings of rock-fusion, guitarist Frank Gambale), "Gliding Through the Passageways" is almost hypnotically gentle, with resonant bass and guitar effects. One shoots you into space, and the other leaves you floating there.