Jeff Richman, XYZ Review


Jeff Richman, XYZ Review

Jeff Richman’s “XYZ” – A Vibrant Harmony of Fusion and Flamboyance

by Icrom Bigrad

Jeff-Richman-CDJeff Richman’s latest work, XYZ, feels like a carefully plated culinary masterpiece, each song a meticulously chosen ingredient that harmonizes to create an album that is sumptuously satiating yet leaves you craving for more.

Just as one can’t ignore the bold intensity of a jalapeno in a delicately balanced salsa, Richman’s world-renowned guitar skills stand out, resonating with the flavor and fervor that was a hallmark of his inspirations, like Jeff Beck. Every track reveals Richman’s dexterity and creative expertise, further congealing his place among the elite vanguard of fusion musicians.

XYZ may be Richman’s eighteenth record as a leader, but it pulsates with the energy of a debut. Richman embodies the notion that change is inevitable, but progress is optional. Here, Richman is a fusion music pioneer who continually embraces change and uses it as a tool to progress and create fresh, dynamic music, thereby expanding the boundaries of the genre.

Listening to XYZ, one can’t help but appreciate how the music resonates with Richman’s vast experience. It’s a musical fusion tour-de-force, akin to a Michelin-star chef’s tasting menu. The album is varied and exciting, the culmination of a nearly fifty-year career at the forefront of fusion, evoking a sense of wonder and reverence for the art of music itself.

“XYZ” and “Be Cool” are prime examples of Richman’s commanding sonic palette, with each track’s distinct character enhanced by the powerhouse ensemble including rhythm section giants Vinnie Colaiuta and Jimmy Haslip, as well as by keyboardists George Whitty, Scott Kinsey, Mitchel Forman, Otmaro Ruiz and trumpet soloist Jeff Beal.

However, this is not an album where individual brilliance overshadows collective harmony. The musicians complement each other, intertwining their talents to build a grand tapestry of music that stands as a testament to Richman’s ability to orchestrate such an exceptional collaboration.

“Optamystical” and “Ray Barretto” demonstrate the depth of Richman’s songwriting. It’s like savoring a dish where you can taste the intricate layers of flavor, revealing the skill, knowledge, and creativity of the chef. Similarly, Richman’s tracks reveal layers upon layers of musical complexity, exhibiting his profound understanding of fusion and ability to innovate within the genre.

Through Richman’s musical imagination, XYZ manifests a sonic universe that’s as broad and varied as the genre itself. The album invites you on a journey, allowing you to feel the pulse of each note, the rhythm of each beat, and the emotions encapsulated in every melody.

For those that love and appreciate fusion music, Jeff Richman’s XYZ is a feast that you wouldn’t want to miss. And for those new to the genre, it’s the perfect introduction to the limitless world of fusion music. So, prepare your senses, and ready your mind for an immersive, unforgettable dive into the boundless seas of fusion music that Richman has passionately and skillfully prepared for your enjoyment.


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