(3 / 5)
This is a colossus of a line-up; Robben Ford, Jimmiy Haslip and Vinnie Colaiuta on their first album together under the Jing Chi banner for 13 years. It was worth the wait.
Jing Chi, the blues fusion powerhouse deliver their fourth recording, “Supremo”, produced by Jimmy Haslip and co-produced by Robben Ford.
All three players are in high demand individually, but they all grabbed the opportunity to resurrect this formidable team and get back into the studio to create magic.
Ford has been recording under his own name and as a session player since the 1970’s, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta has played with the likes of Sting, Frank Zappa and Steely Dan, and bassist Jimmy Haslip was a member of the brilliant Yellowjackets; and has played with Tommy Bolin and Steely Dan, among many others.
This record features an appearance by saxophonist Jeff Coffin and trumpet session veteran Mike Haynes. “Supremo” gives us 10 instrumental tracks. The horns are used primarily as an underlying texture with clever lines that weave in and out, bringing to mind vintage jazz and soul music, but with a modern edge.
Jimmy Haslip takes charge as producer, and he describes the album as a high energy, modern R&B fusion explosion of sound. He pays great credit to recording engineer Rich Breen, who has worked on all of the Jing Chi records. He calls Rich the band’s “sonic architect”.
Robben Ford plays guitars, organ and piano here. Jimmy provides bass and synths, Vinnie on drums. Country star Vince Gill plays the guitar solo on track seven: “Vegas”. The album was recorded in Fort Wayne Indiana, California and Nashville. All the songs were penned by Robben Ford, “Vegas” a co-write by Ford and Haslip.
It’s a very nice listen, performances as you would expect, are top notch and the material gives an even listen. I did miss a vocal or two, personally, (and I am a long-time Robben Ford fan and an admirer of both the ‘A list’ drummer and bassist). But it is what it is, and will thrill fans of this band after such a long hiaitus, and guitar anoraks everywhere.
By Simon Redley
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’