Mingo Lewis: percussion, synthesizers, congas, clavinet, and vocals
Louis Bramy: percussion, bells, vocals
Mike Kapitan: keyboards
David Logerman: drums
Eric McCann: electric bass
Kincaid Miller: synthesizers, keyboards clavinet
Randy Sellgren: electric guitar, acoustic guitar
Michael Kapitau: organ, synthesizers, piano, drums vocals
This is a recording that Mingo put together with some studio chums I think and it features songs written by him and Mike Kapitan (“Heartsong”). The musicians used here are all very good and jell quite well on this album. There are 3 keyboard players here and they are all utilized within this album as it has a whole lot of synthesizer, piano, organ and clavinet here. Of course Mingo being one of the premier percussionists leaves lots of room for his and his buddy, Louis Bramy to beat their congas, bongos, timbales to their hearts content. The bassist and the drummer are very flexible and adventurous as they anchor a very busy group of songs that have a lot of twists and turns. Randy, the guitar player sounds like a younger slightly slower version of Carlos Santana. He doesn’t sound to me like Al Dimeola but more like a cross between Bill Connors and Carlos.
There are 8 songs with 4 of them being over 7 minutes long and arranged very similarly to Return to Forever songs.
The intro song “Abacua”, is a solo percussion piece with vocals that is just perfect.
There is one vocal song, “Visions of Another Time“, that is awesome in the perfect melding of a Latin flavored slightly funky beat and melody with Mingo’s vocals being very cool. The lyrics are written by Carolyn Lewis and tell about “taking a journey” to another place like a transcendentally traveling “out of body” like experience. While the lyrics seem too cosmic here it fits well and my “cheese” meter was registering very low.
The song called “Trapezoid” is also very neat as it has a bass and drum solo/groove section that lets the rhythm section show off a bit. Along with the congas it makes for a smoking percussion section. This song is similar to some of the funky things done from “No mystery” era of Return to Forever. Again done with the coolness and panache of Mingo.
I mention these songs as they are the ones which don’t sound like Return to Forever. All the other songs sound to me like variations of RTF songs but done in a most excellent way as they don’t sound like straight copy versions but more like Mingo’s vision of a style of Latin fusion he loves. One thing that I found that I didn’t like was the synth solo rave up/ freak out section at the end of the song called “Heartsong”. This comes right after a very nice change where the music morphs into a heavier rock beat with the synths sounding weird/out of place. The synth solos end this piece and left me scratching my head over the last bit of arranging.
This album is one of the best Latin jazz rock fusion albums of the period. This album takes the best of Return to Forever and mixes it with Santana . The music is fast and furious for the most part. The interplay is excellent as well. The music is written by a percussionist and while he plays a lot in the quieter breakdowns within some of these songs, the best part of this CD is that the groove and excitement found on the Return to Forever CD’s is here in abundance and along with the guitar pyrotechnics of Randy Sellgren makes for a Latin fusion classic of the genre. One of the things lots of fans didn’t like about some of the Return to Forever CD’s/albums was the sounds that Chick Corea got on his keys and synths. This problem is almost non-existent here on this album. While a lot of the sound and patches employed by this group of keyboard players are similar to Chick’s the cheesy/circusy tones are not heard here. I can understand why some have rated this highly among the classics of the genre; it is that good and comparable to them in its own right. Great stuff!