Michael Whalen is reviewed by Take Effect with “Future Shock”

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Michael Whalen

TAKE EFFECT

by Tom Haugen

MICHAEL WHALEN

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Future Shock

Self-Released, 2021

9/10

Listen to Future Shock

Michael Whalen has enjoyed a lengthy and esteemed career in the music industry, where he’s picked up a pair of Emmy Awards, as well as adding 35 recordings to his catalog. Here, he’s in the company of Simon Phillips, Bob Magnuson and Tony Levin as he blurs the lines of prog-rock, jazz and electronica in very exciting ways.

Whalen starts the listen with the electronic playfulness of the title track, where firm drumming from Phillips and wordless vocals help cultivate a dance friendly and very creative opener, and “Hop Skip Jump” follows with strong synth work as beaming sax from Magnuson finds itself in a cinematic atmosphere.

Residing near the middle, “Lights Of Home” recruits a timeless jazz spirit that’s not short on ambience, while “Memories Of You” brings plenty of melody to the brass heavy climate that’s percussively fluent, too. “Miracle Mile”, one of the album’s best, then sounds right at home in the ‘80s with its flowing synth and lively beat.

Near the end, “Wanderlust” builds into a busy display of textured song craft that benefits from Magnuson’s clarinet, and “Your Eyes, Your Touch, Your Kiss” exits the listen soft and agile, where all members showcase their respective talents in an unpredictable and universally enjoyable fashion.

An effort that really pushes the boundaries of instrumental music, Whalen and company cultivate a strong sense of melody across this example of fusion dynamics that few, if anyone, could replicate.

Travels well with: Steve Hunt- Connections; Kane MathisGeminus

Kari Gaffney

Kari Gaffney

Since 1988 Kari-On Productions has helped artists get an even footing in the industry through jazz promotion in the genres of Jazz, World & Latin Jazz through Jazz Radio and Publicity. Why do we do both, because they compliment each other, and we care about fiscal longevity for the artist.

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