Jazz, fusion all stars…
Pat Mastelotto & Markus Reuter are two well established and respected musicians both as solo performers but also as collaborators with various groups and projects. Face, released in 2017 is their 5th collaboration record overall with the 4 first albums released under the group name Tuner and Face under the names of the two musicians.
Starting from the (quite) dark and (rather) unsettling (I would say) front cover (which matches more to an avant garde black metal group) and which is created by none else than Mr. Adam Jones of the mighty Tool, the record has to exhibit an impressive guest team of session musicians and artists. In the album notes we read the names of :
Fabio Trentini (Subway to Sally, H-Blockx, Guano Apes)
Adrian Benavides (cooperations with Daughtry, Green Day, The Smashing Pumpkins, Goo Goo Dolls)
Brad Houser (Eddie Brickell & The New Bohemians)
Steven Wilson (Well…no need for further references here)
Chrysta Bell (Twin Peaks series…)
Danny Wilde (The Rembrandts)
Most of the musicians composing the above team are having a Jazz background and this becomes apparent during the 35 minute track that Face solely consists of. The composition is based on a free structure without any basic theme and during its 35 minutes all the participants are given the chance to unfold their ideas in playing. The track is based on a lo-fi mood with some rhythm changes but without any major climaxes providing a smooth flow to the song and despite the participation of so many session virtuosos, any extreme and needless exhibitionisms are avoided. This adds a lot of positive points from my point of view. Some oriental elements make their appearance after the 3d minute and another positive is that all this diversity in influences (rock, jazz, classical, ethic/orient) manages to only build up and add value to the composition without sounding odd or out of place.
Obviously Face is a piece of music that requires the listener’s attention and which despite the many different participants manages to keep its consistency. Furthermore despite Mastelotto and Reuter being the masterminds behind this recording, I have to say that they act fairly and democratically supplying equal room to the other musicians to present their ideas so that the final results resembles more the output of a full time group. Lovers of Jazz, prog and fusion should definitely approach this album.