Desert Troll’s Final Step
Desert Trolls, Final Step’s debut is a fist full of pumping fusion, funk and electric jazz stylized from the best the world over. Anchored by the chunky organ grooves of Frank Salis and augmented by the searing electric guitar of Matteo Finali and angular brass punch of Max Pizio, the album brings to mind what might happen if John Medeski, Scott Henderson and Chris Potter or Jeff Coffin got together for a jam. At its best the playing, tones and compositions could go toe to toe with some of the best electric jazz on the scene.
“Jojo’s Blues” sounds like it would be at home on the best of the MMW/Scofield collaborations but harkens back to some of the grooves of Billy Cobham’s early electric work.
“The Two-Bear Mambo” starts off with a scratching loop a la some of Soulive’s recent work and jumps into a chunky pocket carved out by Finali’s chicken pickin’ lines. All along the way Rocco Lombardi (drums) and Gian Andrea-Costa (bass) hold the piece together as Pizio fills in the holes in a punctuating riff that grounds the groove.
With “Shuttle To Venus” Finali steps forward with an Oz Noy kind of groove that enables his band mates to lay down sick sonic textures before ripping the piece apart with an outro solo not unlike some of the baddest from Tribal Tech.
Ghena Bibaira takes the tempo down for a feel not unlike modern Jeff Back before introducing the two outro numbers: “Space Camel” and “A True Madness” that bring to mind more Scofield groove and a revisit to the best of Steps Ahead or Mike Stern.
All in all for a contribution to the modern realm of fusion the album is a fine addition.