By: John Mabery
Colin Cannon’s In Summary (2009) is proof there is fresh talent in the world of jazz music deserving of mainstream exposure. Often times more in the vain of Miles Davis’ In A Silent Way (1968) or Chick Corea’s Light as a Feather (1973) than some of the heavier fusion that exists, Cannon and his band have created a diversely beautiful album that will hopefully warrant them some serious exposure as we move forward into the new decade.
Cannon’s guitar wizardry will appeal even to listeners who fancy themselves more rock aficionados than jazz, particularly those who enjoy the work of David Gilmour. The down-tempo tracks, such as “For The Record” and “A Fading Cause,” give Cannon the opportunity to flex his muscles as he travels up and down the scales. Massive amounts of praise should also be heaped upon the backing band – if one could even call them that since this is a band that truly plays as one. Bassist Zak Croxall and drummer Tom Hartman (giving Ron Carter and Tony Williams a run for their money) hold it down with one of their tightest grooves on “Truffaz,” the rhythm section’s crowning achievement, before a particularly awe-inspiring freak-out from Cannon. Pianist Manami Morita, who is the heart and soul of this band, interplays beautifully with Cannon on album highlight “MCB,” in which Cannon trades in his electric guitar for an acoustic.
But the band tackles the more familiar, heavier aspects of fusion on the earlier moments of the album, and they do it in fine fashion. Listen to the band members count themselves in at the beginning of “Dear Lydian,” a personal favorite, where they sound more like a punk band than a jazz quartet, before firing on all cylinders. Or on the album opener, “The Berklee Cage,” where Cannon proves himself to be the heir to Jon McLaughlin’s throne as the Almight of Fusion Guitar.
In Summary sounds like a classic album by a group of seasoned veterans, but it’s not. And that’s what makes this album, and this group, so great. Instead, it’s an instant classic by a disciplined and energetic crop of young musicians who know their history. Seek out this album and Colin Cannon’s next live show…now.