Resolution 88 – Vortex

British jazz-funk-fusion and Rhodes-heavy group Resolution 88 just released their fourth album “Vortex” on the Synthethesia label. Clearly their best effort yet, it opens with a Marcus Miller-style funk jam called “The Boss From Boston”. Bassist Tiago Coimbra and saxophonist Alex Hitchcock really bring in the mid 70s Herbie Hancock/Head Hunters style, but not simply as a bland copy, but rather conveying that particular sound into the here and now. And keyboardist Tom O’Grady, who works with Myles Sanko and has toured with Incognito and Don Blackman, not only plays the Rhodes, but also a Hohner clavinet on this particular track, making it all the more authentic.

Resolution 88 "Vortex"

But there are more keyboards from that era: an ARP Odyssey, an Oberheim Polyphonic Synthesizer, a Mellotron M400, a Maestro Echoplex EP-3, and more. Really dig the midtempo, lightly flowing “Love Will Come Around”, which also comes with a vocal version courtesy of Incognito singer Vanessa Haynes. The tempo and mood stay cool and calm on the brilliant “Sky High (For Larry & Fonce)”, a dedication to the Mizell Brothers who are still revered as one of the most important and original producers, musicians and writers of the 70s. In fact, Larry himself said about using original 70s keys on this track: “Monumental that you used an ARP Odyssey with a phaser and an Echoplex”. Favorites vary with each listen. At this moment, I can’t get enough of the phat sound on “Never Ever Ever”. It’s really as if George Duke, Herbie and the Mizells have come together to create this spacy and silky sound. Oberheim meets Odyssey.

Rhodes is the name of the game on the groovy “Shriffty”. Just heard a lot of Patrice Rushen records yesterday in anticipation of her concert in Berlin tomorrow and Tom O’Grady’s solo here really reminds me of her too. Guest saxophonist Tom Smith plays some fierce lines on this one. Things cool down for the mellow “Final Approach”. And the 8-minute title track breaks a lot of new ground sound-wise with a really thrilling bass clarinet and more of those spacy little wonders at the beginning. The tune then fades into a decidedly faster tempo and you find yourself right in the middle of this vortex. Once you get out after an exhilarating Rhodes solo, you find yourself at peace. What a trip! The album is out on vinyl too!


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