The first time I picked up Strange & Wonderful
, I knew the experience would be a unique one. The group's name sounded like something out of the realm of normality by itself, and according to John and Kelly Fumo, this recording is their version of smooth jazz with a punch. There is a punch attached to this effort, but the overall impact on jazz is of the fusion variety.
FUMO is the name of the group started by John and Kelly Fumo. Their stylized version of jazz music is a composite mixture of popular, rock, acid jazz and ballads. To compare John Kelly's trumpet playing to Miles Davis
is somewhat of a stretch; however, John does have his moments of endearing tonal quality. On the other hand, there are additional references describing the vocals as a meeting between Sade
and Miles Davis; again, I was looking for those similarities too. Although this album is resourceful and creative, I found it difficult to find any meaningful approach or direction that took me to the level of FUMO's description of what their intent was meant to be.
Nowadays, jazz has become a multi-cultural interactive conglomerate of bells, whistles and creativity. As such, musicians often choose to incorporate experimentation into their creative processes. John & Kelly Fumo have chosen to infuse a level of music into a stylized version of fusion and acid jazz music, heavy on the fusion. The smooth jazz influences are lost in overall approach. I must admit to having a liking for two or three of the tracks on Strange & Wonderful, but just as I began to get into the group's creative flow, the next track carried me somewhere else.
Kelly Fumo's voice on this album has an exotic feel attached to it, but listener's seldom get the opportunity to get the so-called Sade meets Miles Davis effect that FUMO describes so emphatically. Overall, this is truly a different kind of jazz being offered by John and Kelly Fumo. If you like the music of Medeski, Martin & Wood, or that of some of the other nouveau jazz musicians of the last 10 years, then FUMO may well give you an opportunity to expand your musical interests to a higher level of concentration.