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Neil Larsen – Orbit

 

A new disc featuring the wonderful keyboardist Larsen and a great band, with Robben Ford on guitar, recorded live to two-track with 12 songs that are memorable for various reasons.

Most of this is some form of fusion, and Ford is in fine form. Whether it’s a percolating funk like the title cut, with an amazingly cool jazz solo, the lovely slow jazz shuffle “C Note,” which plays to Robben’s bluesy strengths, or the organ trio sound of “Red Desert,” which lets Robben echo Wes Montgomery, he is always on.

It’s difficult to find a player whose tone and choice of notes always seem perfect, but this setting favors Ford, who always rises to the occasion when playing with other top-flight musicians. It’s been awhile since we’ve heard him in this setting, but his jazz chops are as good as ever. In fact, on cuts, like the airy “Shing,” it’s easy to forget the guy playing the lovely solo is one of the finest blues/rock players around.

If there’s one complaint it’s time; the cuts are fairly short, and just when it seems like some of the solos are ready to really take flight, they move on to the next player. Fortunately, they all know how to make their parts count.

This is a must for fans of Ford and/or fusion fans. More simply, it’s a good listen.



This article originally appeared in VG‘s Dec ’07 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.


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