TRIBAL TECH

Fusion • United States
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The virtuoso jazz fusion unit Tribal Tech were formed in 1984 by guitarist Scott Henderson and bassist Gary Willis, debuting a year later with Spears. Over the course of subsequent efforts including 1987's Dr. Hee, 1990's Nomad, and 1992's Illicit, both Henderson and Willis emerged among the most acclaimed instrumentalists in contemporary jazz, with each frequently topping music magazine best-of lists; in the wake of 1995's Reality Check, Tribal Tech went on hiatus to allow the members the opportunity to pursue solo projects, finally reuniting four years later for Thick. Rocket Science was released in fall 2000.

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IllicitIllicit
Mesa / Bluemoon 1992
$2.48 (used)
Primal TracksPrimal Tracks
Bluemoon 1994
$44.95
$4.78 (used)
Rocket ScienceRocket Science
Tone Center 2000
$27.95
$4.61 (used)
ThickThick
SHRAPNEL (ORCH) 2006
$11.54
$15.81 (used)
Thick by Tribal Tech (2006-10-23)Thick by Tribal Tech (2006-10-23)
Tone Center
$36.83
$23.00 (used)
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TRIBAL TECH Discography

TRIBAL TECH albums / top albums

TRIBAL TECH Spears album cover 3.83 | 6 ratings
Spears
Fusion 1985
TRIBAL TECH Dr. Hee album cover 3.67 | 6 ratings
Dr. Hee
Fusion 1987
TRIBAL TECH Nomad album cover 3.75 | 4 ratings
Nomad
Fusion 1990
TRIBAL TECH Tribal Tech album cover 4.14 | 7 ratings
Tribal Tech
Fusion 1991
TRIBAL TECH Illicit album cover 4.08 | 6 ratings
Illicit
Fusion 1992
TRIBAL TECH Face First album cover 3.92 | 6 ratings
Face First
Fusion 1993
TRIBAL TECH Reality Check album cover 3.80 | 5 ratings
Reality Check
Fusion 1995
TRIBAL TECH Thick album cover 2.85 | 4 ratings
Thick
Fusion 1999
TRIBAL TECH Rocket Science album cover 3.18 | 5 ratings
Rocket Science
Fusion 2000
TRIBAL TECH X album cover 3.86 | 5 ratings
X
Fusion 2012

TRIBAL TECH EPs & splits

TRIBAL TECH live albums

TRIBAL TECH demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

TRIBAL TECH re-issues & compilations

TRIBAL TECH Primal Tracks album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Primal Tracks
Fusion 1994

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TRIBAL TECH movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

TRIBAL TECH Reviews

TRIBAL TECH X

Album · 2012 · Fusion
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darkshade
Tribal Tech return after an 11 year hiatus with "X". Not the most original album name, but whatever. I'm not Tribal Tech expert, I only have a few of their albums from the late 80s/early90s, and only heard a couple of tunes from their later albums, but I can tell you without a doubt---this is their most original album in a while. This album is hard, experimental in places, and funky in others.

The only thing you know you can expect is virtuoso playing from these guys, of course. After that, X sees the band playing around with song structures. Apparently, in 2010 they recorded most of the rough tracks for this album, lots of improvisation and so on. Then they spent the year and half before this album came out adding overdubs and structuring the jams, making much of this music seem composed; and in a way it is.

What I also like about this album is the "usual fusion" sound is gone, you know, that late 80s/early 90s fusion sound, like Chick Corea Elektric Band, Dave Weckl Band, or Zawinul Syndicate (minus the world fusion aspect); THAT sound. It's gone here. And it's good, because otherwise it would date this record horribly. No, the band is trying new things on this album. A little electronic beats here and there, different keyboard sounds, etc. This record is more earthly. There are moments of intense electric post-bop, some more soulful, contemplative playing by Scott Henderson, and a variety of other different moods.

It's not the most progressive album, but it's a fun record, and one of the more original albums by the band. And it's nice to see Tribal Tech not stuck in the same sound, experimenting with different things.

A pretty good fusion album. If you like modern fusion, you'll probably enjoy this. If you're a Tribal Tech fan, you'll enjoy the different feel this album has.

TRIBAL TECH Thick

Album · 1999 · Fusion
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Sean Trane
Yet another TT album, and it doesn’t bring much new to the band’s well established modern fusion musical formula. Indeed, their eighth album (in 14 years of existence) doesn’t differ much, as all of their tics are well-worn and obviously sufficiently time-tested for the followers, but one can really wonder why they bothered doing another album, as you’d have a hard time telling one from another. The usual quartet, still lead by Willis & Kinsey and Henderson, dishes out their all-too polished and over-slick rock-oriented jazz-fusion that could’ve been recorded anytime between the mid-80’s and the late-90’s, although it sounds mega-dated nowadays and even insufferably synth-produced.

You could easily confuse this type of fusion with Vital Information or some of Yellowjackets early 90’s albums or Corea’s Elektric Band, without much importance, since the 90’s inconsequent fusion sounds mostly the same. Oh sure, the virtuoso qualities of all four musicians is not to be doubted, the songwriting is hardly flawed, but the sounds chosen, especially with Covington’s drums and Kinsey’s sometimes very cheesy and kitschy synths. I’m also not a big fan of Willis’ all-too round fretless bass sound, which contrast (but not really all that positively) with Henderson’s often fiery guitar playing, which is as usual the group’s main strength.

The only novelty (I think) is the electronic and sampling doodlings spread over a few early tracks, and to be honest, every second try I give them, I find these explorations fairly irritating. Another one of the main gripe I have with this album is its overall length (not that long at just under 55 mins), is that I never managed to listen to it in its entirety as I pop it out well before the halfway, despite some undeniable qualities. Don’t get me wrong though; without disliking the album per se, I guess that says a lot for it. This is kind of a pointless and “made-hundred-times-before” modern fusion that will certainly not revolutionize your musical horizons. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

TRIBAL TECH Rocket Science

Album · 2000 · Fusion
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Sean Trane
TT’s last album for over a decade, and often cited as their best, but I will not confirm this. The usual quartet is up to their old instrumental modern fusion tricks, and fails to renew them. Of course, you still have Henderson’s fiery guitar leading the debate, Kinsey’s relatively uninteresting synths along with his slightly more interesting electronic doodlings, Willis’ slick and round fretless bass, with Covington’s (slightly) improved drum sounds. To get an idea of how frighteningly anal (in the Freudian sense) the group can get, is to check out the individual instrument list for each member, where the only thing they fail to mention is the brand of their shoelaces.

Other than that, the music is still flawlessly played by the four undoubtly virtuosos, but again its main flaw would be its length, as you’re being bombarded for about one hour with the same kind of over-produced and too-slick instrumental modern rock-oriented jazz-fusion. Sorry, but I’m not masochistic enough to endure such a laborious trial. If RS generally regarded as their better effort around the millennium, it is only by a marginal difference, and the casual listener will have a hard time telling RS from their previous albums. Not that you’d really want to tell it apart either. But if you really find the need to have at least one TT album in their later discography, Rocket Science could eventually be a good candidate.

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