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Bobby Previte and Latin for Travelers: Dangerous Rip

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Drummer Bobby Previte, one of the more active catalysts of the downtown New York music scene, has proven he can separate the intensity and urgency of fusion from its many excesses. This may be because his inspirations run far afield of rock and funk, which drove so many of the fusion innovators. Two (of many) fusion-tinged facets are here for the hearing.

Latin for Travelers, last heard on My Man in Sydney, comes over as a guitar-driven fusion band but a fusion band with a difference, as evidenced in an opening that poses a mellow guitar against a blues harp. The band features Stewart Cutler on guitar, Jerome Harris on guitar and electric bass, and Jamie Saft on keyboards. The quartet is joined by guitarist Mark Ducret on a wonderful surf medley, appropriately recorded in Australia: it’s as if we are hearing familiar words spoken in an unusual accent. Right, Bruce? Throughout, the vocabulary of fusion is stripped of the need for speed-though it’s clearly there when needed-and is lightened by Harris’ instincts for laying out. Intriguing, highly accessible music.

Empty Suits is a herd of another color. Packaged beneath a bullet-riddled target, carrying a quote condemning classicism as representing “the forces of oppression,” this suite of four Previte compositions undermines its classical forms with improvisation. Robin Eubanks on trombone and electronics is superb throughout, a steady voice in a thick contrapuntal mix created by Wayne Horvitz and Steve Garboury on keyboards, and Jerome Harris on guitar and acoustic bass guitar. Previte and percussionist Roger Squitero anchor time and decorate the silences deftly. This is wonderfully arranged and beautifully realized music.