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Stranger's Hand

Jerry Goodman, Steve Smith, Howard Levy, Oteil BurbridgeAudio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Price: $16.86 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 31, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Tone Center
  • ASIN: B00000JWGV
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,981 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Brick Chicken
2. Sufferin' Catfish
3. Four Four And More
4. Glimmer Of Hope
5. Pinky's Revenge
6. Elvin
7. Caliente
8. Going Up!
9. Moonchild
10. The Stranger's Hand

Editorial Reviews

Drummer Steve Smith's ToneCenter label continues to rescue jazz fusion from the doghouse of jazz history with The Stranger's Hand, a high-octane quartet affair that features Smith alongside former Mahavishnu Orchestra violinist Jerry Goodman, Allman Brothers bassist Oteil Burbridge, and multi-instrumentalist Howard Levy. Composed spontaneously in the studio over the span of several days, The Stranger's Hand doesn't pull any punches from the first lightning-fast unison runs of "Brick Chicken." It also isn't afraid to show its early-fusion influence, with several tracks uncannily echoing the early Mahavishnu Orchestra. Part of "Glimmer of Hope" is almost a dead ringer for "Dance of the Maya" from Inner Mounting Flame, and there are times when Goodman seems to be doing his best fleet-fingered John McLaughlin imitation. Still, if anyone can pull that off, it's Goodman, whose range on electric and acoustic violin is still extraordinary--he's equally adept at the searing electric-fusion runs of "Caliente" as he is on the bluegrass-New Orleans feel of "Sufferin' Catfish" and the straightahead jazz of "Elvin." Also, there are other spices here that make the disc distinctive, from Burbridge's George Benson -esque scat soloing on "Pinky's Revenge" to the harmonica of Levy (who also doubles on keyboards) that sometimes lends the group a bluesier, more countrified sound. --Ezra Gale

Product Description

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strangers no longer!! July 3, 2006
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I miss fusion jazz. I missed it so much, I started my own band to play fusion jazz 70-80's style, but that's another story.

What passes for "fusion" these days is like warmed over oatmeal.

On the other "hand", "A Stranger's Hand" grabs you by the shirt collar during the first measure & shakes & throttles you until the end of the last tune!

Holy cow, can these guys play!

I was already familiar with Jerry Goodman... I must have seen him play violin with the Mahavishnu Orchestra six or eight times! Plus, I've got all of his solo cds (which inexplicably are categorized as "new age"!)

I was also familiar with Howard Levy (from his long association with Bela' Fleck).

I was less familiar with Steve Smith who is an outstanding drummer & Otiel Burbridge

Who just blew me away on bass. I read the name & thought "whointhehellisTHISguy?" I sure know NOW!!! Holy cow what a bassist! This guy usually tours with the Allman Brothers??!! No offence to the Allmans, but what a waste of talent!

This guy is almost as good as Victor Wooten (Bela' Fleck) & Kai Eckhardt (Garaj Mahal) !!!

Anyway, the tunes on the album are set up to showcase everyone's enormous talent sufficiently enough to make ME want "A Stranger's Hand, Two!!"

If you liked Mahavishnu, If you love the adventurous nature of Bela Fleck; if you love Garaj Mahal, and, if you love wild, in your face, yet, still (somehow!) thoughtful jazz that makes no compromises to smooth jazz radio, then you must, ABSOLUTELY MUST get this cd!!

-Dennis the mad vinyl junky
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a rarity: REAL FUSION JAZZ January 16, 2000
Format:Audio CD
The compositions are solid, well arranged, and ex-Mahavishnu violinist Goodman improvises with a searing stroke that re-vitalizes an instrument whose reputation was seemingly consigned to the sweetly arcane sweep of Gallic swing. This stuff tears up the sheet music. Especially noteworthy is harmonica ace Howard Levy, whose ability to produce chromatic scales on a regular diatonic harp gives us a cross between Paul Butterfield and , shall we say, Michael Brecker--his play is complex, gutsy, fast, intricate without sacrificing coherence. Jon Popper ought to retire. Steve Smith on drums is superb, Elvin-esque, as in a title here.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cool collaboration July 9, 2002
Format:Audio CD
Fusion is sometimes considered a dirty word in today's music scene and mostly for good reason. Fusion is all too often watered down fluff or pretentious musical masturbation. The genre is full of virtuosos who are masters of their respective instruments, but who have no idea what
soul is.
One recent exception to this is an album called The Stranger's Hand which is out now on Tone Center. The musicians on the album come from a variety of backgrounds and never had played together before the sessions for this album. The group is held down by drummer Steve Smith. Smith is known quite well in the fusion world, but he originally made a name for himself drumming with Journey. Violinist Jerry Goodman was a member of one of the pioneering bands in fusion, the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Bassist Oteil Burbridge came up playing with Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit and now plays bass for the Allman Brothers. Piano/harmonica player Howard Levy is a renowned session player who is most famous for his work with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.
The music on this recording was largely composed on the spot with all members contributing to the writing. The music has s spontaneous feel to it that makes it dynamic and energetic. Smith is an extremely tight and inventive drummer and when he locks up with Oteil's bass the groove is unmistakable. Goodman's violin and Levy's harmonica are the two main voices here and both are very unique. Jerry Goodman plays electric violin throughout, but if you weren't listening carefully enough you could easily mistake his instrument for an electric guitar. Levy is one of the best harmonica players in the world. The harmonica is sort of an underrated instrument, but Levy's playing brings new respect to
the instrument.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thank You Jerry January 5, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Goodman is the stylistic savior and musical class of this entourage. Steve Smith certainly has the chops, but shows little restraint here. At times this record sounds like one big drum solo overriding the other participants.
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