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Gary Willis/Liberty Fortuny/Kirk Covington: Slaughterhouse 3

California band Tribal Tech (1984-2000) was one of very few prospective carriers of the post-Weather Report fusion torch, so co-founding bassist Gary Willis knows about his former group’s looming shadow-especially when his new trio also features Kirk Covington, Tribal Tech’s drummer during the second half of its career. On Slaughterhouse 3, their combined rhythmic muscle fuels the unorthodoxy of Spanish saxophonist Liberty Fortuny.

Using a combination of analog pedals and digital effects, Fortuny often sounds like anything but a saxophonist. After easing into the opening title track through traditional tones within the rhythm section’s 6/8 cadence, Fortuny fires shots of guitar-like feedback. The piece later shifts into 4/4 time for its rocking coda. “Life Story” likewise morphs from a near-traditional swing feel to a double-timed section in which everything about Fortuny’s playing (tone, phrasing, attack) sounds more like a synthesizer.

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