Review Summary: This group is quite underrated in my opinion. If anything, get the album to hear Weckl, but you might find yourself actually enjoying the music as well.2 of 2 thought this review was well writtenSynergy:
Before you dive into this bad boy I should inform you of a few things about this review. Number one, I don’t listen to very much jazz. In fact I barely own any jazz albums at all. I might have three or four. So from a jazz perspective this may NOT be the most accurate review. But I wasn’t going to spend a year educating myself on the genre before I wrote this review so here it is. And number two is I am a pretty serious drummer, and so is Dave Weckl (on a much larger scale of course), who if you didn’t know is the star of the show. So I’ll try my best not to be biased but at the same time I figure that most people listening to this album are drummers themselves so I will spend most of time looking at the drums. Anyways, let’s get onto the review.
Well not quite yet. Let’s talk about Weckl a bit. Weckl is one of the most well respected drummers of our day. He is most known for his jazz work and the work done with his band. He is often thought of as one of the most technically skilled drummers of all time, often compared with names such as Vinnie Colaiuta
, Steve Gadd
, and the great Buddy Rich
. Like Neil Peart
, Dave’s style changed dramatically after training with drum guru Freddie Gruber, as did when he started using the Moeller Technique. He has made multiple instructional videos which mention this method. Well enough about the guy, here’s the review.
- The opening track somewhat epitomizes the album and band. It’s a bold statement but it’s true. It starts out with some syncopation and slowly builds. Each member sort of has his moment to shine but Dave sort of runs the show. You can just sense it. He eventually takes over at the end in a wild finale. You WILL be amazed by this climax whether you’re a drummer or not. And that’s what separates this band from other bands. The drummer is an absolute freak. Overall, this is definitely one of the best tracks.
- For some reason I always thought Panda's Dream was Pandora’s Dream. Maybe I just wanted to believe that because the word sounds cool. Either way this is a solid track. Dave starts out with a simple two four beat that flows perfectly with the funky guitar. This strikes me as amazing when I know what the guy can unleash. But that’s part of his ability and every good drummer’s ability. It’s the capacity to restrain yourself. He holds back but still flares things up with his predominant use of the bell of the ride. We hear another great conclusion. It’s a great track but not the quality of the last.
- This is one of the jazzier tracks on the album with its drag time feel. Dave sort of takes the back seat on this one and lets the bass and sax do the work. Odd time signatures keep the track interesting but this is not one of the best tracks on the album. The song seems to drag on a little long for my liking even though it is one of the shorter tracks on the album.
A Simple Prayer
- If the last song was the jazz track, thisis the soft track. Dave finds ways to add to the song with out raising the overall intensity. He uses shakers, chimes, and other such tools to get it done. The drums actually remind me a bit of In the Air Tonight
by ol’ Philly Collins
(even though his were electronic). The guitar takes the lead initially and then allows the sax to creep in. The song has got a great melody but if your expecting Dave to tear it up it doesn’t happen, so many listening to this album won’t enjoy this track, though I do.
- This is another jazzy track. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the Deniro
flick but it sounds sort of creepy at times. The bass keeps this steady riff going through out the album and that sort of interlocks the entire track. That is until the wicked solo at the end. Bass fans enjoy. Not my favorite track but a two minute bass solo is worth my time any day of the week.
- This is a fun one to listen to. It’s got a funky vibe to it and is very enjoyable. Everyone sort of just jams out at some point in the song. In fact there’s this little jam section in the middle of the song. I think Dave actually uses two different snares in this song if you listen closely. For all the different directions the instruments are going, the track stays tight and crisp. This is one of the better tracks on the album. Even has a nice little Hendrix
sounding end to it.
- The album track starts out sounding soft like A Simple Prayer
, but eventually erupts into one hell of a song. The sax is very catchy in this song and Dave makes it even better with his perfectly implemented use of the cow-bell. This is one track that I think could even be better with lyrics but this a purely instrumental album so no luck there. Dave has another jaw dropping solo like in High Life
too. This track is truly a joy to listen to.
Where’s My Paradise
- This is another mellow track. It features some light keyboards and piano but the guitar mainly runs the show. Dave uses some light cymbal hits and his brush sticks just keep the track rolling. This track clearly is not as good as A Simple Prayer
but is not bad either. It just never really picks up, but then again I don’t think it’s designed to. If anything, it gives you a breather after the intense Synergy
- This track sort of gives me this visual image of a slick guy in a suit making his way into a room. I don’t why it just does. It has that sound. Plus the name helps too. The sound of the song is good. However the track never really progresses or goes anywhere. That’s why it’s one of the weaker tracks of the album.
- This song immediately made me think of the movie Waterboy
. You know the one with Adam Sandler
. I don’t think it’s because of the name this time either. The bass sounds strikingly similar to one of those bayou songs in the movie. I’m sure they were going for that sound. The track is actually first-rate. The sax in the chorus (or whatever you want to call it) is very catchy. This song picks up at a much needed time in the album. Right as it was starting to slump.
- Here’s what all the drummers are waiting for. It's all drums. This is one of the best solos coming from one of the best drummers. There’s really not much to say. If your reading this review, you probably now how technically proficient Weckl is already. One thing I think Dave truly stands above the rest is his perfect use of dynamics. He knows when to get big and when not. And he as truly mastered the art of accents. No easy task. But I guess it pays off because this song kicks ass.
If you’re a drummer: 5/5
If not: 3/5
- This is the final track on this album and it doesn’t disappoint. The sax grabs you in (like it has mostly done up to this point), and doesn’t let go. One thing I really like about this track is how the keyboard really gets into it. Everyone sort of goes wild. The song actually goes double time making it one of the most up tempo songs on this album.
This album is obviously drum heavy. Which is to expect, as it is the DAVE WECKL band. So I would definitely recommend this to any drummer or anybody wanting to listen to quality drums at their best. Weckl flows perfectly with every song, yet puts so much complexity into it. The guy has got some mind blowing chops. However, the rest of the band, much to my surprise, added so much as well. See, when I bough this album I was figuring I would be listening to this beast of a drummer…and some other light instruments on the side. But while Dave runs the show, everyone has a role. The sax and bass specifically are very catchy and come up with great hooks. I was surprised to find this album not yet reviewed. This group is quite underrated in my opinion. If anything, get the album to hear Weckl, but you might find yourself actually enjoying the music as well.
If you’re a drummer: 4.5/5
If not: 3.5/5