I have heard several Gongzilla albums and have been very impressed with them all. East Village Sessions is easily the most artistic and creative work that they have recorded to date. It was not hard to surmise that this was a superlative effort right from the start. This is also the strongest jazz oriented album I have heard from this band, and that is due to the influence Benoit Moerlen had on their overall sound with his vibes.
The best way to describe this fine session is to say it is jazz that rocks, however it is slightly more complicated than that. How is one able to explain in a few short words the combination of instruments used on this CD? I find it impossible. David Fuiczynski (the guy is on his own planet) and Bon Lozaga man the guitars, Benoit Moerlen is on vibes and marimba, Phil Kester adds his tasteful percussive tones to the mix, and the rhythm section combination of Hansford Rowe (bass) and Gary Husband (drums) hold down the bottom line very well.
Everyone takes advantage of the strength surging from the powerful rhythm section and then the music takes shape based on those timely complex rhythms. It is apparent that this band has reached a creative pinnacle while recording jazz-rock fusion. This type of music leaves the door open for improvisation and something new to happen on a continual basis so I stand ready for something new and exciting to come my way on the next album.
Six of eight tracks clock in at over four minutes long. Only "My Doctor Told Me So" and "No Pennies Please" fit into the ‘unusual’ category for run times for what this band typically plays. Then again, this is not your typical album. I have no doubt whatsoever why I am attracted to fusion and progressive rock, the musicianship is unmatched and always an adventure to absorb. Now there is a key word, absorb. That is how any music lover wants to feel while listening to music, totally absorbed in the sound. Music can be romantic, poetic, powerful and mystical; all of those rudiments are key factors in mesmerizing an audience. Great music makes all that happen and bands like Gongzilla cast that spell upon you every time you put their CDs into your stereo. Fusion, progressive and jazz audiences will find a lot of pleasure taking this all in. It sure meets all of my listening requirements. I listened several times, and each time I enjoyed it more.