Metro is a group or better said a
project created in 1994 by Chuck Loeb and Mitchel Forman,
who are friends since their work for Stan Getz. The group
was joined by German drummer Wolfgang Haffner. In this
constellation the group exists till today. First bassist of
Metro was Anthony Jackson (1994), followed by Victor Bailey
(1995), Mel Brown (2002) and now Will Lee (2007). After
their debut album Metro (1994) the band has released
Tree People (1995), Metrocafé (2000),
Grapevine (2002), Live At The A-Trane (2006) and
The group Metro is a constant factor in
the contemporary jazz scene. Their music is ambitious and
doesn't sneak a look on the smooth jazz market. So you will
not find Metro's music in the smooth jazz charts.
Nevertheless Metro's music is entertaining and gripping.
Metro performs without platitudes. That makes them unique
Starter of the album is The Red Fish.
Chuck displays the introducing melody with some edges while
Mitch develops the melodious counterpart. In the last part
of the tune the group changes style and tempo to a jazzy
interpretation. Mitch expands his piano performance to a
wild demonstration of his mastership.
Tell Me A Thousand Times reveals
the smooth side of the group with a captivating theme. Since
Bruce Hornsby this kind of piano art is my secret love.
Chuck adds his own electric guitar sound but not in the way
he uses to play on his own solo albums. His guitar sets a
raw counterbalancing component.
Pat Metheny is in the air. Rio Frio
follows the road Pat has build. Loeb's guitar performance is
subtle, multilayered and breathtaking complex. The same is
to say about Mitch's piano virtuosity.
On Maikle Burreka Metro presents
their own view of Africa. A multi-colored explosion of
African Spirit in the tradition of South African township
music (Yashelela Africa/ Ubuhle be Africa).
Express is a synonym for
rapidity and dynamic. A specialty of drummer Wolfgang
Haffner, often shown on his own solo projects. He composed
this tune and propels the group with his constant drive. The
mid-tempo Sloth is an excursion into relaxing
atmosphere with an acceleration to the end.
If you want to attend a concert of
Chuck Loeb as a Rock star, listen to Up Above the Stars
to get the first taste. Chuck fascinates with mighty chords
on his distortion guitar. This part is embedded in a
mysterious sound collage created by wizard Mitchel Forman.
The contemplative face of Metro shines
on Nuna. Chuck in a Wes Montgomery-like attitude,
Mitch's keyboard magic, Will's sensible bass and Wolfgang's
brush technique are spell bounding. The up-tempo Absynth
Blues tests the borders of fusion jazz.
Bassist Will Lee is known for his
discrete performance. Jason Miles comments: "He is a
superior musician who constantly makes everyone around him
sound better. I can say that he is the ultimate bass player
who blends rather than take the lead. Nobody can propel a
rhythm section like Will. He may not stand out like Marcus,
Victor, Stanley but if you ask any of those players their
opinion on Will they will give him glowing remarks knowing
the effect he has had on bass players through the years."
That said enjoy Will's bass play on The Standard.
On the stunning final Slow Down Will
Lee showcases his groovy vocals and puts the frosting on
your cake. Awesome and so charismatic.
Metro did it again. Fans of
contemporary jazz don't worry, you have found your Christmas