1/  Unknown Passage                            (Musso)                       6.51
  2/  Luminous                                   (Musso)                       5.20
  3/  Stream of Stars                            (Musso)                       6.08
  4/  Realm of Spells                            (Musso)                       6.15
  5/  Drifting Shades                            (Musso)                       5.25
  6/  One Mind                                   (Musso)                       5.44
  7/  Dark Halo                                  (Musso)                       7.10
  8/  From Shadows                               (Musso)                       5.50
  9/  Silent Code                                (Musso)                       6.10

          Recorded and mixed at Orange Music Sound Studios, Orange, New Jersey
          Engineered by Robert Musso
          Assistant Engineers: Zach Prewitt and Lance Carter
          Produced by Robert Musso
          Executive Producer: Kazunori Sugiyama
          Pre-Mastered by Miachael Fossenkemper for Turtle Tone Studios
          Mastered by Allan Tucker at Foothill Digital
Karl Berger: vibes, Rhodes electric piano; Charlie Burnham: violin, harp; Lance Carter: drums; Aiyb Dieng: percussion; Byard Lancaster (3,5): soprano sax, flutes, bass clarinet; Bill Laswell: bass; David Liebman (2,4): soprano and tenor sax; Robert Musso: guitar, 6 string bass, ebows, synth; Bernie Worrell (2,4): Hammond organ, Wurlitzer electric piano.

Main themes on 3, 4 and 5 written by Robert Musso and Karl Berger

          1999 - DIW (Japan), DIW 416 (CD)


A rather unspectacular but still entertaining fusion exercise, featuring the big bass of Bill Laswell and some solid sidemen including Byard Lancaster, Bernie Worrell, Karl Berger and Aiyb Dieng. The group puts in a yeoman performance, jamming its way through nine funk-lite pieces, liberally interspersed with violin, guitar, vibes and sax solos. Given his excellent ethno-ambient experiments with Laswell (two of the three Transonic CDs) and Professor Shehab (_Ataxia_) during the latter half of the nineties, one had hoped that Musso might invest this recording with more spice, but has instead opted for a more straight-forward approach. If you´re looking for a challenge in your listening, you will probably be disappointed; however, highlights like Lancaster´s fluid sax lines on "Luminous" make this CD a welcome harbinger of the coming summer, filled with fresh breezes and light.

Stephen Fruitman


The king of studio mixing -- he literally mixes almost every record Bill Laswell has ever played on as well as work by John Zorn, James Blood Ulmer, and countless others -- finally releases another of his own works on the renowned DIW label. It's easy to hear why, when featured on this recording is an eclectic who's who of modern sidemen: First and most noteworthy is Byard Lancaster on three tracks, then David Liebman, Bernie Worrell, percussion master Aiyb Dieng, vibes god Karl Berger, Lance Carter on drums, and Blood Ulmer's violinist Charles Burnham as well as stalwart Bill Laswell. Musso plays six-string bass, guitar, and a barrage of synthesizers. But here's the deal: This is a thoroughly modern, spaced out "groove jazz" record. This is Musso's attempt at making commercial smooth jazz. If this were what was on the radio many wouldn't listen to anything else. Long, involved, entrancing melodies criss-crossed with harmonic invention and a truckload of groove-laden rhythms. "Stream of Stars" beams in a trip-hop rhythm with a melody line from Liebman's soprano and Musso's keyboard. It's sweet, spacey, and easy on the senses yet musically sophisticated. There's something just off enough to hold you inside until you're completely hypnotized. When Lancaster pulls out his soprano on "Drifting Shades," and soars above a summery funk with Dieng and Bernie Worrell trading fours on the riff, you could swear the inner city blues of early Grover Washington got tied up with Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man." And on it goes. The music can be greasier, it can get funkier and grimier, but it never loses its melodic edge. Where guitars sear though the middle of a track's body as they do on "One Mind," it still holds the brighter end of the accessibility spectrum. This is not a disc for those looking for wild sonic adventure. It is one, however, for the rest, who crave in sonority and harmonious interaction between riff and groove once in a while. This one's a winner, and it should be burning up the airwaves instead of languishing in the import bins.

Thom Jurek (courtesy of the All Music Guide website)