Joan Torres's All Is Fused: Before (2012)
By Jeff Dayton-Johnson
Bassist Joan Torres calls his group All Is Fused. Before, the band's début recording, features electric bass,
electric guitar and (mostly) electric keyboards. Is this a fusion album?
Yes and no. Torres knows his fusion history, and appropriates from it with a sure touch. On "Doorway," the group
channels the light samba sound of pianist Chick Corea's Return to Forever (ECM, 1972). On "Another World" and
"The Chase," in contrast, they draw upon the rapid-fire guitar lines (here, doubled on electric bass) heard on
drummer Billy Cobham's Spectrum (Atlantic, 1973), equally derived from bebop and heavy metal.
But elsewhere, the sound is one of energetic bop ("Vicissitudes") or mid-tempo post-bop ("Disbelief," "True").
In short, this is intelligent electro-acoustic jazz in the vein of Donny McCaslin's Perpetual Motion (Greenleaf, 2011),
not the pile-driving rock-funk sound of Headhunters or other mid-1970s purveyors of the fusion genre.
Pianist David Ojeda and guitarist Sergio González, in particular, are given generous solo space. Spirited, if at times
a little green, soloists, each achieves transcendent moments. Alto saxophonist Jonathan Suazo, meanwhile, is more assured,
and on "Disbelief" renders a solo of Cannonball Adderley-like bluesy fluency. Drummer Fernando García is especially
imaginative and energetic on the upbeat numbers.
Torres himself is reserved as a soloist. When he steps forward (as on "Disbelief" and "True"), he offers a tasteful
and restrained improvisation.
The compositions display a dynamic and stylistic diversity; they tend to be pleasing sequences of chords more than
Torres and his young confrÃ¨res are part of an effervescent young jazz scene in Puerto Rico. Another leading light
of that scene is guitarist Gabriel Vicens, whose fine, ambitious début Point In Time (self-produced, 2012), preceded
Before by a few months. (Vicéns's record also featured Suazo's alto sax.) Vicéns takes the guitar chair on the last
two cuts of Torres's record, where his matrix-like improvisational approach complements perfectly the sound of Torres's group.
Source: All About Jazz