Basil and Friends - "Equations Concrete" (Self Released)

From Aural Innovations #35 (January 2007)

I know John Basil from the band Heru Avenger, who released 2 great CDs in the early 2000's. John is a fantastic and creative guitar player. After the two Heru Avenger CDs he released one called Non-Stop-Paris to Berlin, which was quite different but very cool as well. Then he disappeared. I hunted him down recently and received this project Basil and Friends that was released in 2005 on his own. He is joined by Brendan Dunn on percussion, Craig Teigen on drums (he played on the Heru Avenger stuff) and Jason Harrison Smith on Fender Rhodes. John plays all the guitar, bass and some minimal electronics. The CD consists of three 11 minute pieces and one 13 minute piece. The music is all instrumental jazz rock. Mary Jane is pretty straight up with some amazing playing. But on Biagio the band really starts to take off a bit more and the music becomes more strange and cool as some electronics percolate in the background. The track slowly fades out with mostly piano and strange sounds for the last several minutes. Nice. Victoria's Garden is next and the bass is much more prominent on this track than the previous two and also acts like a lead instrument in some ways. The guitar is very much jazzy and I like the way the guitar builds up and each member plays into each other. Soft Spiral ends the CD and starts with some electronic sounds and percussion for the first 5 minutes before the full band comes into the picture and the jam takes off with more intense playing on the keys and guitar than previous tracks. Some of this is a bit too much the same but it is well played instrumental jazz rock by great musicians. A very nice sound production as well.

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Reviewed by Scott Heller

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