Joan Torres/All is Fused - Before - Album Review
by Trystan MacDonald

Can anyone really review a jazz album? The heavy use of improvisation and poly-rhythms focus on the musicianship of each instrument and make it rather difficult to critique each song. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a jazz enthusiast (unless you count Meshuggah) but then there's Joan Torres’s (bassist, composer) a coalition of gifted musicians under the name All is Fused that serve as a great introduction to the genre.

The first thing I realized when I listened to Before in its entirety was the absolute wealth of musicianship and the various combinations of instruments throughout. Although there is no apparent song structure to the album, there does seem to be a certain theme to each individual track, be it a certain emphasis on a particular instrument, or a general mood, or an atmosphere that the music sticks too.

The first track, “Doorway”, opens to a piano melody that is eerily reminiscent of a modern fantasy video game. That imagery soon fades as the piano takes things over with simply amazing composition. One thing you might also pick up is the drumming in background, which is absolutely incredible but also so gentle that it can be easily overlooked, particularly during some of the more exciting progressions from the other instruments. I thought this was a huge mistake. Fernando García, the band’s drummer, has chops.

In fact, if you were to add distortion and volume to any of the instrumentals present on this album, you would end up with a pretty incredible metal record. The guitar licks found within “Vicissitudes”- courtesy of Sergio González - are a perfect example; you don’t have to like jazz to appreciate the guitar work on that track.

My favorite track on the album has to be “Disbelief.” I feel that Joan Torres had some real emotion invested in that track in comparison to the other songs on the album. The guitar and alto-saxophone complement each other beautifully as the song comes to an end, with a beautiful yet somewhat sad-sounding piano melody. If you’re a fan of the alto-saxophone, the tracks “True” and “Enlightenment” are definitely tracks you will want to hear.

Before is a perfect album to introduce you to the lounge type jazz that was so popular in the 1970s. Joan Torres' composition and rotation of the instrumental focus is a refreshing change to the standard structured music that we are accustomed to today.

Source: Lithium Magazine

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