LENNY WHITE — The Adventures of Astral Pirates (review)

LENNY WHITE — The Adventures of Astral Pirates album cover Album · 1978 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
Sean Trane
A surprising third/fourth solo album from the RTF drummer, not least because it is very comics-related, with its gatefold star-ship Kaluta-drawn artwork and the Don Mizell (see Don Byrd and soul-jazz connection) Star Wars-like sci-fi concept explained inside the album. It is a little fastidious to dissert of the general storyline, especially that the album is mainly instrumental (only Remembering is sung), and to be frank, it’s very secondary to the music on the album, itself book-ended by the Astral Pirate Themes. Unlike in his previous albums, there is no major guest star or collabs (at least non I’m aware of), if you’ll except for Patrick Gleeson synth programming. Line-up-wise, we’re dealing with a constant windless quartet or quintet throughout the album, so the album is definitely in the later-70’s fusion realm than in the earlier 70’s JR domain.

Generally speaking the music is strongly later-70’s JR/F-oriented with strong rock and funk roots (it is co-produced by Al Kooper), although there are the odd moments where they get a tad pompous and veer semi-classical. While the music seems collectively-penned by the musicians, apparently Mizell would’ve also contributed (my guess is the lyrics of the lone sung-track) as well. Musically, we’re very much more in the rock-derived JR/F (ala early Journey) than we are in the jazz-derived fusion, partly due to the riffy guitars that abound throughout the album. Difficult to pinpoint a single track as some kind of climax or highlight, because the album’s content is fairly homogenised, and only the sung track (inferior to the rest of the album IMHO) sticks out from the mass, even if the three title themes pieces are a little special, especially the tremendous closing theme, very reminiscent of Journey’s debut album. A good album, but certainly not worth writing home about in emergency.

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