by Hans-Berd Hulsmann
When bassist Jimmy Haslip produces an album, you know what’s going to come out: a jazz fusion album. The initiators of the same are organist Bill DiCosimo and bassist Edgar Pagán, who have been working together for more than twenty years. The album, which will be released in January 2021, is called Con Moto, which means “with movement”.
Contributors to the album are, who would be surprised, Jeff Lorber, Gary Novak, Jeff Richman, Jose Varona, Paulie Cerra and more. People know each other. For example, Edgar has already worked on Jeff Lorber’s joint album Eleven with Mike Stern or Jeff and Jimmy have played on Edgar’s album What A Feeling.
The album starts with the aptly titled So It Begins. A piece that flows along with a continuous rhythm like mercury.The piece is structured comparable a mathematical challenge and bass, rhythm guitar and keyboard complement each other seamlessly like a laying puzzle.
With Magic Carpet Ride, the group reaches far back into the time of Steppenwolf, who landed a big hit with this song in 1968. Bill DiCosimo and Edgar Pagán do not leave it at a mere double, but instrumentally continue the story.
Is Samba Pagan the answer to Lorber’s Rhumba Pagan? Certainly not, because there are no similarities stylistically. The duo is travelling in South American realms. Blues Clues has the feel of a minimalist exercise in musical sequences.
Cisco Kid is a popular song in the Funk Rock genre of the group War, released February 1973. The very fact that these songs are familiar to me confirms my advanced age. I love however this interpretation that goes far beyond what I am familiar with from the original. The group has written a contemporary sequel, so to speak.
Taino Spirit musically recalls the indigenous people who at the time of the conquest by the Spanish Conquistadors formed the inhabitants of the Caribbean islands of Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Bahamas and the Northern Antilles. What seems to have been extinguished lives on in the music.
With the final song Show The World, the group encourages togetherness and overcoming inner resistance. Singer Bob Halligan Jr. is the bearer of the Christian message.
The assumption of a jazz fusion album turned out to be deceptive upon closer listening. However, it does not seem easy to classify Con Moto stylistically. From Latin to jazz rock to melodic pop, you can find many approaches in this album. Coherence seems undesirable; rather, authenticity is the order of the day.