Inspired by the work of pioneering jazz fusion drummer Tony Williams, Spectrum Road are a veteran supergroup with a difference. In contrast to more back-slapping vanity projects, every last second of this uproarious debut thrums with intensity and breathless urgency. You’d have to be a churlish sort to expect anything less from any band featuring the legendary Jack Bruce and Living Colour’s ever-inventive Vernon Reid.
Spectrum Road: Spectrum Road
Jack Bruce and Vernon Reid head up heavy-duty supergroup.
The scorching interplay between them brings so much fire and fury to re-imagined Williams standards like Vashkar and Vuelta Abajo.
With keyboard maestro John Medeski and drummer Cindy Blackman Santana (Lenny Kravitz’s rhythmic foil) also putting in bravura performances throughout, this whole enterprise could easily have descended into formless showboating, but the chemistry between the quartet is evident, especially on the 13-minute Where, wherein the mercurial Reid wrangles some truly bewildering noises from his instrument.
Veering between pinpoint precision and wild improv, Spectrum Road occasionally threatens to totter over the line into chaos. Instead, the skill of all involved ensures that justice is done to Williams’ legacy.