THE AVENGERS — On a Mission (review)

THE AVENGERS — On a Mission album cover Album · 2012 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
js
The Avengers are the latest jazz fusion super group put together by guitar virtuoso Beledo, and “On a Mission” is their first album. This is fusion with a capital ’F’, in other words this isn’t the rough roots jazz-rock of the early 70s, “Mission” is more in the abstract, sophisticated late 70s fusion style developed by artists like The Yellowjackets, Allan Holdsworth, Chad Wackerman and others as they sought a more unique language for the fusion style. This music is polished and sophisticated, but there is no lack of energy and the soloists really burn. The top soloist is of course Beledo, who will definitely be reminding people of the aforementioned Alan Holdsworth. There are some strong similarities between the two, but Beledo shows a stronger sense of syncopation in his phrases, possibly because of his musical background in Uruguay. Also, when it comes to sheer fleet fingered speed, sounds like Beledo may have a slight edge there too.

The other main soloist on ‘Mission’ is keyboardist Adam Holzman. Adam did a great job as keyboard orchestrator in his high profile gigs with Miles Davis, but I had no idea he could tear it up solo-wise like he does on here. Another big plus for Holzman is his use of analog (sounding?) synthesizers for his solos. Its nice to hear someone bring back the fine art of fusion synth soloing. Once considered a cheezy relic of the bygone 70s, synth solos have been making a comeback in the world of jazz lately.

One nice surprise on this CD is a cover of Miles’ “Portia” from the album “Tutu”. It’s unexpected because most jazz artists have pretty much ignored Miles 80s output, but “Portia” is a great tune and no doubt appealed to Holzman because he worked on the original version with Miles and Marcus Miller. Overall this is a very good fusion album and is recommended for fans of modern highly developed guitar technique, Beledo is one of the best guitarists out there these days.
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