Metro is a group or better said a project created
in 1994 by Chuck Loeb and Mitchel Forman, who are friends since their
work for Stan Getz. The group was joined by German drummer Wolfgang
Haffner. In this constellation the group exists till today. First
bassist of Metro was Anthony Jackson (1994), followed by Victor Bailey
(1995), Mel Brown (2002) and now Will Lee (2007). After their debut
album Metro (1994) the band has released Tree People
(1995), Metrocafé (2000), Grapevine (2002), Live At
The A-Trane (2006) and Express (2007).
The group Metro is a constant factor in
the contemporary jazz scene. Their music is ambitious and doesn't sneak a look
on the smooth jazz market. So you will not find Metro's music in the
smooth jazz charts. Nevertheless Metro's music is entertaining and
gripping. Metro performs without platitudes. That makes them unique
Starter of the album is The Red Fish.
Chuck displays the introducing melody with some edges while Mitch
develops the melodious counterpart. In the last part of the tune the
group changes style and tempo to a jazzy interpretation. Mitch expands
his piano performance to a wild demonstration of his mastership.
Tell Me A Thousand Times reveals the
smooth side of the group with a captivating theme. Since Bruce Hornsby
this kind of piano art is my secret love. Chuck adds his own electric
guitar sound but not in the way he uses to play on his own solo
albums. His guitar sets a raw counterbalancing component.
Pat Metheny is in the air. Rio Frio
follows the road Pat has build. Loeb's guitar performance is subtle,
multilayered and breathtaking complex. The same is to say about
Mitch's piano virtuosity.
On Maikle Burreka Metro presents their own
view of Africa. A multi-colored explosion of African Spirit in the
tradition of South African township music (Yashelela Africa/ Ubuhle be
Express is a synonym for rapidity and
dynamic. A specialty of drummer Wolfgang Haffner, often shown on his
own solo projects. He composed this tune and propels the group with
his constant drive. The mid-tempo Sloth is an excursion into
relaxing atmosphere with an acceleration to the end.
If you want to attend a concert of Chuck Loeb as
a Rock star, listen to Up Above the Stars to get the first
taste. Chuck fascinates with mighty chords on his distortion guitar.
This part is embedded in a mysterious sound collage created by wizard
The contemplative face of Metro shines on
Nuna. Chuck in a Wes Montgomery-like attitude, Mitch's keyboard
magic, Will's sensible bass and Wolfgang's brush technique are spell
bounding. The up-tempo Absynth Blues tests the borders of
Bassist Will Lee is known for his discrete
performance. Jason Miles comments: "He is a superior musician who
constantly makes everyone around him sound better. I can say that he
is the ultimate bass player who blends rather than take the lead.
Nobody can propel a rhythm section like Will. He may not stand out
like Marcus, Victor, Stanley but if you ask any of those players their
opinion on Will they will give him glowing remarks knowing the effect
he has had on bass players through the years." That said enjoy Will's
bass play on The Standard.
On the stunning final Slow Down Will Lee
showcases his groovy vocals and puts the frosting on your cake.
Awesome and so charismatic.
Metro did it again. Fans of contemporary jazz
don't worry, you have found your Christmas gift.