Carl Orr: Absolute Freedom  

This, the Australian guitarist's 5th self-produced album is a classic funky jazz-rock tour de force. Five years since his last recording, the CD is reminiscent of many of the finest mid-seventies funky jazzthetics, whilst showcasing the guitarist's inimitable mix of fiery guitar licks and compositional flair. The sound is also retro 70's, fitting that decade's mark as the zenith of this genre, that feeling further strengthened by the presence of no less than king of the fusion tub thumpers, Billy Cobham on two tracks, with whom Orr toured in the late 90's. Marco Anderson, The album's strong opener, 'Unstoppable' features Cobham's driving rhythm and Haines' lead soprano. This track would be at home on any of the drummer's great Atlantic platters from the mid 70's and was written particularly for the drummer's live set. It's also a good attempt at writing a "Headhunters' style tune, funky, fairly minimal but with a memorable tune. "Dangerfunk", the album's musical highpoint is 12 minutes of fusion at its best, again powered by Cobham's trademark latin tinged-funky drums. Orr's guitar soars and screams over BC's battery using a variety of effects to turn up the heat. His playing here is inspired and accomplished and he is obviously at ease with the esteemed company. Cobham's playing is also majestic, alongside some of his best recorded work. The guitarist's wit is evidenced by the inclusion of Donald Fagen's "Tomorrow's Girls", a strange choice, where Orr embellishes the simple melody, adding tasty licks very much in the Scofield style. Again with "Return of the Jazz Police", a light hearted tune aimed at a well known jazz trumpeter and self-appointed officer in that constabulary, his Scofield roots are even more pronounced. Always mindful of the composition's requirements though, he exudes good taste, an individual approach and a personal sound that can cry like Hendrix, comp with Scofield's surety or sculpt with the originality of Mclaughlin. "Non-violence is the Only Way Forward" is another super fast groove held down admirably by Dave de Rose, the title being self-explanatory. With this and "The Price of Peace" Orr lays his philosophy firmly on the table (he has been a practising Buddhist for over 20 years). This last track features a remarkable chromatic harmonica solo by Adam Glasser who also contributes some fine keyboards to the album, as well as an intimate and heart-felt bass solo by Neville Malcolm. If he can lay claim to a place in the top pantheon of guitarists in this genre, it is not through blatant fret melting technique, although on more than one track he shows he has chops in abundance. Nor is the man himself a self-interested extravert or wild showman. His prowess lies in mature composition and soulful yet acerbic and profoundly tasteful guitar, that often knowingly betrays his major influences in Hendrix and Scofield.  

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Carl Orr - Non-Violence Is the Only Way Forward - 6:14 AUD $1.69 Add Song to Cart
Carl Orr - The Price of Peace - 5:10 AUD $1.69 Add Song to Cart
Carl Orr - Unstoppable - 6:20 AUD $1.69 Add Song to Cart
Carl Orr - Blues for Jimi - 6:39 AUD $1.69 Add Song to Cart
Carl Orr - Tomorrow's Girls - 4:20 AUD $1.69 Add Song to Cart
Carl Orr - Dangerfunk - 12:31 AUD $1.69 Add Song to Cart
Carl Orr - Return of the Jazz Police - 7:42 AUD $1.69 Add Song to Cart
Carl Orr - Voice of the People - 8:17 AUD $1.69 Add Song to Cart
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