How many times can WOW be used in conjunction with an album that is WOW from beginning to end? Jazz Fusion is the name of the game; style and class is the trademark of Michael Whalen, which is demonstrated to perfection in his latest work Future Shock, with a vibrant, melodic, feel good pulse prevalent throughout a varied and contemporary collection of tracks.
So saying, get set for a foot tapping, hip swinging journey into fun, adventure and seriously good vibes as right from the first track, Future Shock the work is upbeat, laced with a hint of Morocco or the bazars of the Middle East, capturing a pulsating rhythm that goes back a very long way, centuries perhaps.
Bob Magnuson on sax absolutely rocks in Hop, Skip and Jump underpinning the overriding synth to create a true fusion of sounds. With Simon Philips on percussion and Tony Levin on electric bass, the move from pure to blended is glorious, before sliding into a more recognizable jazz beat in La Hermosa Noche, a piece that is a complete contrast to the former pieces.
A captivating intro on synth presents the magical Lights of Home to express beautifully the magic of the night when lights twinkle and shine, the evening skies slowly darken and the mystery of the night is still to be revealed. Once again gloriously sensuous sax makes this piece a real treat.
A big band sound is created in Poly Jam with the very clever and intricate use of electronics, electronica and skilled musicians having fun doing what they do best, make fantastic music. Morning Song is a boppy little piece that is fresh, intoxicating and full of joy. Lively, refreshing, filled with sunshine and delight Morning Song is a guaranteed feel good song.
Your Eyes, Your Touch, Your Kiss is the last track and one that is laid back, has a lovely blues overlay, is dreamy, mellow and immensely enjoyable, titillating the senses, relaxing the mind and pleasing the soul. Perfection.
Summing up is relatively basic: Wow, delightful, wow, and fantastic. What more needs to be said, other than enjoy this rich collection from the creative and talented Michael Whalen: synthesizers, keyboards, electronic percussion & programming Simon Phillips: drums & additional percussion Bob Magnuson: saxophones, flute & shehnai and Tony Levin: electric & upright basses, Chapman stick.