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SoundGround >> Fretless Fusioneer Dave "Fuze" Fiuczynski & Gamak


2/13/13 2:38 PM
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hugomma
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Edited: 02/13/13 3:00 PM
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Ali turned me on to this (sometimes) fretless madman. Fuze is coming to Denver on 2/26 with alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa's band Gamak, a band he put together to showcase Fuze's unique approach to fusion & world music. Wish you guys were in the Denver area so we could meet up for this one. Sounds like it'll be a great show.

Ali, your input would be appreciated. 

2/13/13 2:40 PM
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hugomma
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Here's Fuze doing Mahavishnu's "Miles Beyond" at the Knitting Factory in 2006.

2/13/13 2:43 PM
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hugomma
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Fiuczynski with John Medeski - "Pineapple". Not a fan of Medeski, Martin, (Scofield) & Wood, but I do like Medeski's playing, & this is pretty wild (although a bit slick/overproduced, IMHO).
2/13/13 2:45 PM
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hugomma
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Part 1 of a Guitarkadia Session with Fuze.
2/13/13 2:48 PM
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hugomma
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Part 2.

2/13/13 2:49 PM
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hugomma
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Part 3

2/13/13 10:55 PM
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Ali
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Edited: 02/13/13 10:57 PM
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He's so logical, and clear, and... nuts!

I wish I got more of a sense of what Gamak sounded like -- it's a cool little promo vid, but not much music. Still, Rudresh is one of the very good "up and comer" young dudes, and he often uses Indian scales and such, so Fuze, with his microtonal obsessions, is an almost obvious pairing.

I love that "Miles Beyond". And the "Sessions" interviews are really fascinating. Some of what he says surprises me (like "Vai and Holdsworth" isn't what I hear when he says that's what he's doing...) But his working methods are fascinating, his ideas about what to do with a block, just what sorts of things he wants to add in almost modular fashion when he writes....

And seeing the quarter-tone guitar is new. I'm used to him on fretless but that thing, with his Indian or Arabic modes, and his then playing chord changes with that stuff.... it's like learning a whole new instrument. "To most people that sounds out of tune but I like it". Yeah, that's why your last record is just so freaking weird... in spite of being relatively mellow.... 'cause you're doing "jazz changes" with chords you make from quarter-tone modes. Weirdo.

I like what he says about playing with melodic fragments within a scale rather than practicing scales directly. But that's just the most basic stuff so I get it really quickly.

And watching this stuff confirms what I sort of thought from listening to him and reading what he had to say about lessons -- I think if I could take lessons with any electric guitarist, it might be him. I think he seems to really know how to teach, and to explain his own processes. He also is -- obviously -- the anti purist, and wants to teach whatever the student wants to learn.

Also... name-checking Bad Brains as a touchstone for what he was after in Screaming Headless Torsos. (Along with "opera" of course). Seems obvious once I hear him say it. Still, very cool and surprised me.
2/13/13 11:24 PM
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Ali
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Edited: 02/13/13 11:29 PM
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Bob Belden produced "Miles from India". Miles tunes, both from the electric fusion days and the earlier acoustic stuff. With bunches of Indian musicians, and also Miles alumni.

This starts with a sitar intro, and then the sitar playing the main melody. But I'm posting it because of the sax duet with Rudresh Mahanthappa and Miles alum, Gary Bartz. That starts at about 7:07.



There's some Cosey on this record, and some McLaughlin, too. But I don't think with Rudresh (i.e., I don't think on the same tunes). It's hard to keep straight who is on which tune, though.

It's a very good record. In a way the electric period stuff sounds more "straight" -- just less messed with, I guess, than the earlier music. I also thought that this sounded like it could be a really bad idea. Just saying. It turned out to be very good, though.
2/13/13 11:32 PM
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Ali
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Edited: 02/13/13 11:33 PM
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And no Rudresh here, so it doesn't really belong on this thread. But since this is a Hugo thread, and I don't know where else to put it, here's "Ife". This one features a bunch of Indian players whose names I don't know, and also features the Dave Liebman on sax and the late Pete Cosey on guitar.

2/14/13 12:18 PM
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hugomma
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Ali - He's so logical, and clear, and... nuts!

I wish I got more of a sense of what Gamak sounded like -- it's a cool little promo vid, but not much music. Still, Rudresh is one of the very good "up and comer" young dudes, and he often uses Indian scales and such, so Fuze, with his microtonal obsessions, is an almost obvious pairing.

I love that "Miles Beyond". And the "Sessions" interviews are really fascinating. Some of what he says surprises me (like "Vai and Holdsworth" isn't what I hear when he says that's what he's doing...) But his working methods are fascinating, his ideas about what to do with a block, just what sorts of things he wants to add in almost modular fashion when he writes....

And seeing the quarter-tone guitar is new. I'm used to him on fretless but that thing, with his Indian or Arabic modes, and his then playing chord changes with that stuff.... it's like learning a whole new instrument. "To most people that sounds out of tune but I like it". Yeah, that's why your last record is just so freaking weird... in spite of being relatively mellow.... 'cause you're doing "jazz changes" with chords you make from quarter-tone modes. Weirdo.

I like what he says about playing with melodic fragments within a scale rather than practicing scales directly. But that's just the most basic stuff so I get it really quickly.

And watching this stuff confirms what I sort of thought from listening to him and reading what he had to say about lessons -- I think if I could take lessons with any electric guitarist, it might be him. I think he seems to really know how to teach, and to explain his own processes. He also is -- obviously -- the anti purist, and wants to teach whatever the student wants to learn.

Also... name-checking Bad Brains as a touchstone for what he was after in Screaming Headless Torsos. (Along with "opera" of course). Seems obvious once I hear him say it. Still, very cool and surprised me.

LOL at "Werido".  Yes, Fuze most certainly is...

Here is a link to Rudresh's stie, which has the complete tune Gamak played in the beginning of the promo video: 

http://rudreshm.com/projects

Loved Fuze's interview.  It's funny, I'm trying to get some friends to come to the Gamak show with me, & I described Fuze as a cross between McLaughlin, Vai, and a sitar player.  I sent them the "Miles Beyond" clip to make my point & said people that like the Secret Chiefs 3 would probably like Gamak.  Although I don't think he really sounds like any of them, on the surface, I think that's a good way to introduce him to people.  

Melvin Gibbs, Vernon...it's interesting how many of these fusion guys were heavily effected by the Bad Brains.

He would be a fascinating guy to study with.  The Yin to Dale Bruning's Yang.

 

2/16/13 3:08 AM
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hugomma
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Ali - Bob Belden produced "Miles from India". Miles tunes, both from the electric fusion days and the earlier acoustic stuff. With bunches of Indian musicians, and also Miles alumni.

This starts with a sitar intro, and then the sitar playing the main melody. But I'm posting it because of the sax duet with Rudresh Mahanthappa and Miles alum, Gary Bartz. That starts at about 7:07.



There's some Cosey on this record, and some McLaughlin, too. But I don't think with Rudresh (i.e., I don't think on the same tunes). It's hard to keep straight who is on which tune, though.

It's a very good record. In a way the electric period stuff sounds more "straight" -- just less messed with, I guess, than the earlier music. I also thought that this sounded like it could be a really bad idea. Just saying. It turned out to be very good, though.

What a crazy version of "All Blues".  I've never listened to much Indian music, & I don't know much about it, but this makes me want more.  No wonder Trane, McLaughlin, & Fuse fell in love with this kind of stuff.  

The way it goes from the sitar solo to the tune at 1:33 was as odd as it was seamless.  And I'm so used to hearing that melody played on trumpet, but after a minute & a 1/2 of sitar, it preps your ear for a different take of a familar tune.

As if I wasn't excited enough about seeing Fuze, Rudresh, & Gamak.

 

2/16/13 2:30 PM
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hugomma
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Ali - And no Rudresh here, so it doesn't really belong on this thread. But since this is a Hugo thread, and I don't know where else to put it, here's "Ife". This one features a bunch of Indian players whose names I don't know, and also features the Dave Liebman on sax and the late Pete Cosey on guitar.


Rudresh, Fuze, or not, I'm glad you posted it.  Loved this faster, Eastern version of "Ife".  The violin solo in the beginning was fun, & reminded that I need to check out more L. Shankar.  And Cosey's always bittersweet to listen to.  Although I'm always grateful to hear him, it makes me sad that he doesn't have a larger body of work.

2/16/13 2:53 PM
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Ali
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I hear you... and that must be one of the very last recordings of Cosey. I love his playing on it. I'm glad he got to do that one, at least. There's a great slow Ifa on the record, too. And a great "Miles Runs the Voodoo Down" (with none of the same personnel, I don't think).
2/25/13 7:19 AM
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Ali
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That trio (above) he was calling "Kif Express".

His prior record, which was called just "Kif", was billed as a collaboration with cellist Rufus Cappadocia

Again with the fretless instrument's ability to play all those Arabic (etc) scales, I guess, is what that made that work. Here's one of the better tunes from that record:

2/25/13 7:24 AM
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Ali
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Edited: 02/25/13 7:56 AM
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Down memory lane... the first time I heard Fiuczynski was on the record with John Medeski you posted from. I knew of Medeski from MMW (who called themselves, briefly, "Coltrane's Wig" -- just for a tidbit that'll be lost to history!)

I thought the new guy sounded like a demented Jeff Beck right off. That's because the record opens with a tune called "Vog" which goes like this:



That was 1994. It's been interesting to watch what he's done from time to time since then. That record also was the first I was aware of the drummers, JT Lewis and Jojo Mayer. (JT was on that Cosey's "Children of Agharta" video you posted, for one. Jojo has some instructional stuff that I've found cool to check out, even not being a drummer. Just as a listener).
2/25/13 11:14 AM
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hugomma
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Thanks for the Fuze, Ali.  You know I'll eventually check it all out.

I remember there was some wild stuff he did at a fretless fest with a fretless bass player.  When I get home I'll find it & post it.

2/25/13 11:27 AM
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Ali
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I guess I'm still off-point because I'm not posting the Fretless stuff ... but at least it's Fiuczynski. That Slow Blues for Fuzy's Mama I just watched for the first time. I have to go back to the record and pay attention to whether it's that good.
2/27/13 2:19 PM
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hugomma
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I'll check these out ASAP, thanks Ali.

We talked about it last night, but if anyone else is reading this & has considered seeing Gamak - run, don't walk.

I was completely blown away. There were echos of early Ornette, late Trane, Mahavishnu, & Indian music (this one tune reminded me of a soundtrack to an unmade Bollywood rom-com...& then Fuze & the bassist started riffing on "Satisfaction" by the Stones). Although you could here influences, it was different than any of that.

It was like you said: everything I wanted in music, I got last night. Passion, technique, originality, telepathic like interplay between band members, humor...it was unbelievable.

And Fuze...my god this Fuze...I've seen Via, Zakk Wylde, Greg Howe, & other shredders...I've seen more harmonically advanced guys like Dweezil & Jamie Kime, but I've never seen a better combination shred chops, musicality, and originality than what I saw from Fuze last night.

My mind was so bottled that I'm annoying my wife & going back tonight. This kind of thing does come around all the time.
2/28/13 1:47 PM
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hugomma
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Edited: 02/28/13 2:20 PM
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It'll be interesting hearing this on record after seeing them live two nights in a row.

On the first night, Fuze was more shreddy, while last night, it was more about interval skips. And although drummer Dan Weiss was excellent both nights, I appreciated what he did even more the 2nd night. The man is a rhythmic steam engine, chugging along, driving forward, playing free. And Rudresh himself tore my head off.

I was so keyed in on Fuze the first night, I didn't pay enough attention or Rudresh. Great alto player with a solid foundation in bop, post-bop, free, & Indian modalities. And although his influences are there, he has sound & approach all his own. I'm excited to hear more from him in the future.

The other thing I noticed more were the actual compositions.  Again, I was so blown away by Fuze, & the overall interplay between the band, I almost did give the tunes enough attention.  So many different moods, feels, grooves, tempos...there were times I LOL'd, there were (many) times my jaw dropped, there were a couple of times I wanted to kick over the table & start slam dancing...& Rudresh almost had me in tears a couple of times.

Can't say enough about these guys: if you're interested in hard driving, experimental jazz, check them out.

3/1/13 12:07 AM
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hugomma
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Here's the Fuze at the Fretless Fest clip I mentioned before.

3/1/13 12:26 AM
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hugomma
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Ali - Now totally on topic... Gamak. Whole damn record is on youtube.

Here's a diffferent take on "jazz rock":


Ah..."Majesty of the Blues"...THAT's what that was called.  They played it towards the end of their set.  This was one of the ones that made me wanna kick over the table & start slam dancing.  It was also one of many where Rudresh ripped my head clean off of my shoulders.

 

3/1/13 12:32 AM
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hugomma
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"Abhogi" - this is the one that sounded like the theme song to a Bollywood rom-com.  It literally made me LOL.  It's absolutely nothing like anything else they did.  Apparently "Abhogi" is one of a few Indian ragas they play in both Northern & Southern India.  On the album, & particularly live, there's some ridiculous interplay between the bass & drums (well, all of the actually).  Live, I remember them going back to the melody in the beginning of the tune.

 

3/1/13 12:37 AM
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hugomma
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"Are There Clouds in India?" - Rudresh told the story of his dad being one of the 1st gen Indians to immigrate to America in the mid-50's. An American trying to strike up conversation actually asked him if there were clouds in India...hence the song title.  This is an older song that Rudresh specifically wanted to do with Fuze & this particular band.

3/1/13 3:09 AM
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Ali
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I don't really get the Bollywood in Abhoga... but honestly, I've never seen a Bollywood romantic comedy. I've seen lots of trailers for them, which is where I think I have some vague idea of the music. But evidently I don't!

I think Abhoga is my favorite so far, actually. I'm not sure.

"Majesty" is definitely the most burning, I knew that was theo one that elicited the slam-dance urge you talked about.

It's a really cool record... I've listened to all of it once, at least. And yes, due to extreme kindnesses extended to me.... I get to see this band at UCLA on Saturday!
3/1/13 10:19 AM
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hugomma
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Ali - I don't really get the Bollywood in Abhoga... but honestly, I've never seen a Bollywood romantic comedy. I've seen lots of trailers for them, which is where I think I have some vague idea of the music. But evidently I don't!

I think Abhoga is my favorite so far, actually. I'm not sure.

"Majesty" is definitely the most burning, I knew that was theo one that elicited the slam-dance urge you talked about.

It's a really cool record... I've listened to all of it once, at least. And yes, due to extreme kindnesses extended to me.... I get to see this band at UCLA on Saturday!

"Bollywood rom-com" is just what came to mind when I heard it.  I've never actually seen one either, but that what I imagine the music would sound like.

Let us know how they were & what you thought.  


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