Over the past six years, Volto!—Tool drummer Danny Carey, Pigmy Love Circus guitarist John Ziegler, and session bass heavy Lance Morrison—has risen to cult status on the L.A. club scene for intense covers of early ’70s masterworks by everyone from Zeppelin, Hendrix, and Z.Z. Top to Jeff Beck, Billy Cobham, and Tony Williams. Augmented by one of the band’s rotating members, Jimmy Kimmel keyboardist Jeff Babko, Volto’s dynamic CD debut of all-original instrumentals retains the hard-rocking, raw energy vibe that marked the dawn of jazz-rock before a slicker sound set in. “Grip It” bursts out of the gate with its dual feel and contrasting solos by Ziegler and Babko—a formula repeated on the fuzier “Quirk.” “BHP” and “Tocino” morph from metal to prog rock to jam, while the best writing can be found on the disc-closing ballad, “I’m Calm Now.” Morrison (who has grounded everyone from Alanis Morisette to Don Henley) is the ultimate anchor and foil to Ziegler’s shredding and Carey’s flaring, doubling power riffs where needed and improvising his own exploratory grooves when appropriate.
Review: John Scofield "Uberjam Deux"
Eleven years after his groundbreaking Überjam CD (with Jesse Murphy on bass), guitar force Scofield re-partners with most of the original band—rhythm guitar and sampling ace Avi Bortnick, drummer Adam Dietch, and keyboardist John Medeski—while introducing a new rhythm-section partner (Marcus Miller drummer Louis Cato) for Scofield vet and ex-Gov’t Mule bassist Andy Hess.