Shiny Metal Objects-- The Elec Tet

Drummer Ben Scholz originally formed the Chicago-based Elec Tet as a '70's jazz fusion tribute band, but it quickly evolved into so much more as original compositions were brought into the mix. For the Elec Tet's debut CD, the core group of Scholz, pianist/keyboardist Greg Spero, tenor saxophonist Alex Beltran, and trumpeter James Davis, is enhanced by the addition of bassist Daniel Ori and guitarist Oz Noy. Scholz met Ori during a summer sojourn in Brooklyn, NY in 2012 while he was already pursuing Noy, who had previously played with the bassist, for this project. If you've heard the other recent Blujazz label releases by Spero (Acoustic) and Ori (Emuna), and any of Noy's five albums to date, then your expectations should be high for the Elec Tet, and the group does not disappoint as it incisively explores a fresh and diverse series of tunes from Spero, Davis, and Beltran.

Scholz's firm back beat propels the boppish line of "Opener," which recalls "A NIght In Tunisia," with Beltran and Davis up front and Spero's Rhodes effectively providing extra texture. Davis' biting trumpet solo is followed by Spero's glistening treatise. Noy's soaring improv serves as the climactic imprint, only answered by the group's "Tunisia"-like break that also briskly and cleverly separated all the prior solos. The alternately lofty or proddingly staccato theme of "King Joshua" leads first to Beltran's nimble, edgy solo. Davis bends notes throughout his assetive outing, and Scholz shines in his rousing workout as the horns vamp relentlessly. Spero turns reflective in contrast on piano as Noy's distorted tones waft above his increasingly hurtling phrases. The concluding unison motifs allow Scholz to explode yet again before Noy gets in the last licks. Spero recorded "Flow" on his trio date Acoustic, but for this version Ori's heavy bass lines and Scholz's flickering drum patterns are the backdrop for the horns' treatment of the soothing melody. The composer's urgent ostinato then sets up the ebb and "flow" of Ori's forthright solo. Spero's mercurial sequences energize his intoxicating synth turn that precedes the alluring reprise.

"Fly" is a state-of-the-art fusion Spero theme that places Noy's stringent guitar in the forefront, but the band's intermixtures and rhythms undergo various attractive alterations before the guitarist gets to let the stops out in his ever-building, always exciting escapade. Spero's piano solo exhibits tumbling runs, silky arpeggios, and an insistent left hand. Scholz is an endlessly driving force, and the musicians all dig into the reprise with even more resolution and verve. Davis' luminous trumpet conveys his endearing "Giza Power Plant" and its more persistent bridge. His solo is fittingly by turns reflective and exclamatory, and Spero's also begins tranquilly to only rapidly intensify. For "Looking In," Ori, Spero, and finally Beltran's tenor with his ballad's melody create an introspective mood. Ori's rich sound elevates the message of his concise solo, and Beltran mesmerizes with his heartfelt, unpretentious elaborations. The saxophonist's recap is modestly terse.

"Run" possesses an earnest pace from the start thanks to Spero's pulsating ostinato that complements the distortion-tinged harmonies of the dramatic, uplifting theme as realized by Noy and Beltran. The latter's swirling post bop venture is lucidly passionate, and the restatement with Scholz kicking the band and Noy's fuzz-tones is a prime jazz fusion pronouncement. Beltran's distinctive, logically streaming "802" is unveiled by sax and trumpet as Scholz vigorously fills in the open spaces. Davis sparkles in his lyrical improv, with Beltran responding in a more multi-noted, beseeching fashion.

1 Comment

  • Dec 22, 2013 at 06:58PM Ben Scholz

    To purchase a copy of "Shiny Metal Objects", please visit http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/theelectet

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