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Thick

21 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 16, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

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Led by guitarist Scott Henderson, Tribal Tech have in the past been one of the culprits behind jazz-fusion's image problem, producing music occasionally falling into the "Extremely Complicated Music for Elevators and Supermarkets" category. But on Thick the band jettisons the sugar-coating in favor of a more improvisatory approach, and the result is a throwback to days when groups like Weather Report and the Mahavishnu Orchestra first married jazz chops and rock energy. Henderson and bassist Gary Willis, keyboardist Scott Kinsey, and drummer Kirk Covington are all monstrously talented, but that's not the only Tribal Tech attraction. Their group interplay keeps things fresh, from Henderson's wah-wah-fueled Hendrix-ian wail on the title track to the Black Sabbath-like crunch of "What Has He Had?" to the darkly evocative ballad "You May Remember Me" (dedicated to the late comedian Phil Hartmann). Some surprising extras, like the slide guitar melody on "Somewhat Later" and some bizarre studio experimentation on a hidden bonus track, make things even spicier. Tribal Tech have always been talented enough to make music that's almost too complex, but on Thick their energy is infectious enough to grab anyone. --Ezra Gale

1. Sheik Of Encino
2. Party At Kinsey's
3. Jalapeno
4. Clinic Troll
5. Thick
6. You May Remember Me
7. Slick
8. Somewhat Later
9. What Has He Had?

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 16, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Zebra Records (Wea)
  • ASIN: B00000I8TD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,653 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By David Starns on April 12, 2000
Format: Audio CD
OK, so the first time I heard "Thick" I thought it sounded like jammed
out takes from the last 3 Henderson/Willis & co.'s CD's. I hadn't read
anything about the album being "more improvised"; in fact, I didn't
even know it was coming out and just stumbled across it in a record
store (can I admit that I bought it at a store?). But though on first
listen it was easy to yearn for the angular-but-memorable melodies on
"Face First" or "Illicit," the more I listen to this CD, the more I
realize that this is the essence of what Tribal Tech is all about:
incredibly sympathetic interplay, at a level one generally expects
only of be-bop giants (Miles, Coltrane, Rollins, et al): the kind that
requires of its players the deepest, most empathetic degree of
listening and turn-on-a-dime, almost offhand instrumental virtuosity.
Excepting the fact that from a "formal" and harmonic standpoint this
music charges beyond the parameters of bebop, it's really more like
the classic albums of the 50's and 60's; this record is the
electrified "fusion" equivalent of "Kind of Blue" or Lucky Thompson's
"Trichrotism" or one of Coltrane's early "free" records.

Twenty five years ago, groups like Return to Forever, The Dixie Dregs and
Larry Coryell's Eleventh House blew me away by playing lines in unison that
I couldn't even hope to play by myself at half the speed. Fusion was
exhilarating back then, because it was charging into new territory--they
were playing things in a way no one had before.
Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Brett Tucker (the book's editor) on August 2, 1999
Format: Audio CD
When I first listened to this disc, I thought maybe it lacked the melody and thematic development of Tribal Tech's previous efforts. Now, though, I've come to love it for what it is: a jam session of sorts, invented as it goes along, steered in new directions by the whim of the moment. The sound this band creates here is bold, unusual, ecclectic, and yet surprisingly accessible to a broad range of listener tastes. As music, across all genres, becomes ever more cliched over time, Tribal Tech has once again found a way to break out of the mold. Theirs is a musical voice all their own, and the instrumental music of "Thick" is a free-flowing conversation.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Miles Kendig on November 29, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Okay. . .this is my first review ever. What brought me out of my cave? I just got this cd and I HAD to put my two cents in. This is a GREAT cd. Very exciting and exploratory. Very listenable. I'm not really a fan of extremely obtuse or experimental jazz where you're just sitting there desperately trying to find some bit of melody or harmony to hang your hat on. I like tonal and atonal music. But I'd say my favorite is somewhere in the middle. And these gentlemen have a wonderful way of dancing around that tonal center. Flying out to the edges of harmonic perception and just when you think they're about to go too far, they swoop back into some exquisitely tasteful and grounding stroke of instrumental genius. And to me, the most important thing to state about this album, and something I believe hasn't been mentioned, this album GROOVES. I consistently found myself tapping my fingers or my feet or bouncing my head up and down to the infectiousness of the rhythm here. The album is in no way "one-note". There's a lot of variety here. Open your ears and give this a shot. You won't be disappointed by the musicality and cohesiveness of this band!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 2, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Once upon a time, there was an exciting new musical genre called fusion. It was performed by memorable artists such as Miles Davis, Weather Report, John McLaughlin and Chick Corea, to name a few. Well, I'm happy to say that fusion is still alive and kicking in Tribal Tech. This is not the fluff stuff of Kenny G and the Rippingtons. This is creative, spontaneous, and thrilling music played by four virtuoso musicians. Scott Henderson is, to my ear, the most accomplished and stylistically diverse guitarist out there today. More importantly, these guys play as a unit, even during their often convoluted forays into total improv. Fact is, I just can't get enough, and their freshness becomes more vivid with each listenning. These guys play fusion the old fashion way, they BURN it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 21, 2001
Format: Audio CD
The term "fusion" is too confining a term for the artistry of Tribal Tech. For over a decade, they have made consistently excellent and state-of-the-art instrumental music. Their artistry has gone unappreciated because they occupy an instrumental no-mans land. Guitarist Scott Henderson's style is too hard core and aggressive for the Jazz crowd, yet too harmonically sophisticated for the metal and hard rock crowd. The rhythm section of innovative bassist Gary Willis and precise-yet powerful drummer Kirk Covington is too slamming for Jazz, but too rhythmically sophisticated and swinging for the progressive rock & metal crowds. Keyboardist Scott Kinsey is a musical mad scientist that defies musical description. This leaves Tribal Tech in their own musical netherworld, which they have dominated by producing one stellar release after another. On Thick, Tribal Tech alters their approach, producing an improvised and raw release that is less polished than their earlier work. For the most part, it works. Henderson's muscular Jazz-Metal approach dominates tracks such as "Sheik Of Encino", "Thick", "Jalapeno", "You May Remember Me", and "Slick." The low point of the CD is "Clinic Troll", which seems less like a song than an excercise in silly noises. The interplay of the band is stellar, and while Thick may lack the compositional color of stellar Tribal Tech releases such as Illicit or Reality Check, its visceral punch more than makes up for the relative lack of compositional sophistication.
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