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Jazz Pistols: 3 on the Floor

A tight trio, which layers witty, purposeful arrangements on a scorched-earth fusion base, the Jazz Pistols offer a riveting ride on 3 on the Floor (Lipstick LIP 8959-2; 54:00). The trio of guitarist Stefan Ivan Schafer, drummer Thomas Lui Ludwig and bassist Christoph V. Kaiser rock completely live, without a net (no overdubs) through weird and wiry timing tunes like “Tough Stuff,” with its revolving and sputtering bass, and heavy rockers like the album’s prickly, heavy title track. Despite many of the outward trappings, this is not your father’s fusion. The Pistols don’t indulge in abstraction, but instead offer distinct groove and melody on witty pieces like “Yellow Fellow,” which pits a rock-solid, driving roll beat against sweet-toned guitar, with the bass picking up the root for an oddball effect. Other surprises include the swinging “Picard,” with a lovely, resonant guitar tone and pitching, rolling rhythms evoking an ocean voyage, and the stately, light-toned “Seven Up.” The trio cuts loose-and pays homage to fusion’s forebears-with a wicked cover of Jaco Pastorius’ “Teen Town,” featuring lightning fast parallel licks on bass and guitar, and enough raging drum work to satisfy the most voracious headbanger.

Originally Published