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Greg Howe/Victor Wooten/Dennis Chambers: Extraction

Greg Howe’s Extraction (Tone Center) is fusion with a capital F, but not the sort that has had the blood sucked out of it. Instead it brings some of the adventurous spirit inherent in the original jazz-rock concept. It’s an album of often-complicated heads followed by plenty of solo space, and it has chops written all over it. This sort of music absolutely depends on the personality of the participants to make it work, and each musician here has a commanding skill of his instrument. Guitarist Howe is something of a prodigy discovered by Eddie Van Halen and has toured with Michael Jackson; Victor Wooten is a bass virtuoso currently with Bela Fleck; and in-demand drummer Dennis Chambers, currently with Santana, underpins the album with his complex yet funky grooves such as on “Tease” where Howe’s solo on a pedal point is effective yet highly lyrical. The standout track is “Crack It Way Open,” with Howe in head-banging form and revealing what an accomplished guitarist he is.

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