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Focused experimentalism

KiF Express
KiF Express
By David Fiuczynski

FuzeLicious Morsels: 2008

This review first appeared in Turbula in June 2009.

There may be more gifted guitarists working today, but few are nearly as interesting as David Fiuczynski. On his latest, he brings in everything from heavy '70s guitar hero blues-based riffs to some serious Parliament / Isaac Hayes funk lines to New Age noodling to metal power chords to mellow jazz comping. And every style is played with absolute confidence and authority, as if he had cloned himself from DNA stolen from Jimi Hendrix, the Ohio Players' Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner, Robin Trower and John McLaughlin.

In other words, it's a typical "Fuze" album – albeit one with a strong Middle Eastern flavor.

Fronting a power trio this go-round (although a completely different lineup than on 2003's "KiF"), Fiuczynski takes a manic energy and positively free-form approach to the playing and somehow couples them to a series of (mostly) accessible melodies with Arabic, Israeli, Indian and other Mideastern motifs. Fuze and his band (on several songs augmented to a quartet or quintet, with keyboards and saxophone added to the guitar-bass-drums base lineup) mostly keep the melodies recognizable even during the wildest soloing.

The result is an album that is out there and experimental, but not so much that you lose interest in hearing where they're going. Instead, the disparate threads are tied together with such outstanding playing and energy that you find yourself totally pulled into the experience.