Chad Wackerman teams with longtime mates Allan Holdsworth (guitar), Jimmy Cox (keyboards) and Jimmy Johnston (bass)––the same players who assembled for the former Zappa drummer’s debut solo album 21 years ago––and emerges with 53 minutes of highly imaginative music that although challenging is never off-putting.
Wackerman has always made complex drumming sound effortless and he continues that pattern here via “Edith Street”, “The Fifth” (King Crimson on holiday in a jazz club), “Brain Funk” and “A New Day”. Holdsworth delivers some of his most interesting playing here on “A Spontaneous Story”, doubtless an improvisation; the legendary guitar master remains as fluid as ever. Wackerman leads quietly but effectively throughout, a consummate composer, percussionist, and bandleader. Johnston and Cox stand shoulder to shoulder with these giants, the effect being an ensemble that brings jazz comfortably into the 22nd century.