Karl Latham,
(DropzoneJazz, 2007)

This is a groovy jazz CD, with Vinnie Cutro on trumpet, John Hart on guitar, Kermit Driscoll on acoustic bass and Karl Latham on drums. Most of the 10 tracks are covers, and this CD seems aimed toward the mainstream market, but it avoids the dreaded swamp of smooth jazz.

Any doubts on the latter score are swept away by the eight-and-a-half minute "Manic Depression," which is almost experimental with its slowed-up jam in the middle and Hart's effects-laded guitar.

There is another Hendrix cover on two tracks, "Spanish Castle Magic Prelude" and "Spanish Castle Magic." Wisely, the group does not try to emulate Hendrix. Cutro's trumpet shows off the melody of the piece. Hart plays in a rock but not a psychedelic style.

"Past Time Paradise" is given an easygoing Latin beat. The tune is better known as adopted in "Gangsta's Paradise" or Weird Al Yankovic's parody "Amish Paradise." It features tasty jazz runs by both Cutro and Hart.

Bjork's "Pagan Poetry" and Driscoll's composition "Hekete" are jazz ballads. "Tadpole," an original by Hart, has the feel of middle-period Miles Davis as he began exploring rock without totally embracing it.

Resonance is mainstream without being bland and sounds modern without being avant-garde. It should resonate with many listeners.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Dave Howell

4 October 2008

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