Power Tools

It was an unusual meeting. This was a once-in-a-lifetime meeting of greats: guitarist Bill Frisell and Melvin Gibbs, drummer legend Ronald Shannon Jackson, and bassist Melvin Gibbs. It would be easy to think that these men (and the band name) might have some serious jazz/funk headbutting, but the improvisational trio made it a point to downplay the obvious and offer up atmospheric, tonal coloring instead of loud, frenziedmania. PT’s impact may have been diminished by expectations, to be honest. While Gibbs’ Defunkt resume, and Shannon Jackson’s freeform outfit Last Exit are still fresh in peoples’ minds, Frisell’s avant-garde chops were about get a solid workout at John Zorn’s Naked City. Power Tools incorporated Frisell’s almost psychedelic, languid thoughts into Jackson’s hard to contain propulsion is an example of restraint. They do get dirty though, as evidenced by the controlled freak-out at the end of the 9-minute live opener, “Blame

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