Band: Simon Phillips
CD Title: Protocol 4
Label: Phantom Recordings (2017)
Rating: Satisfying 3/5
Respected British drummer Simon Phillips has a resume thatís as long as your armÖassuming you have a long arm. Here on his fourth release under the Protocol title he once again is performing with Greg Howe, Ernest Tibbs and Dennis Hamm. Together theyíve created fifty-eight minutes of some of the finest instrumental Fusion music Iíve heard in a long time. Most of these tunes are longer, in the six to eight minute range allowing for a great mix of combo performance and soloing. After all, this is a genre and an album that showcases performance and instrumental virtuosity, and on Protocol 4 we get plenty of both. Actually I have to say while the Fusion is a timeless genre, I was taken on a bit of a nostalgic trip listening to the music on display here and reminded of bands I first encountered as I explored the Prog genre in the late seventies; bands like Brand X, Bill Brufordís early stuff and Colosseum II around the time of Electric Savage. If Iím brutally honest, I guess what I like about the music of Simon Phillips is that it retains a strong rock foundation but they simply add to that with the complex drumming, sliding bass lines and intricate lead guitar lines. The rhythmic foundation is pretty much rock based while the performance infuses lots of jazzy vibes, hence the Fusion tag. Itís a style and a genre that Prog fans know well and the music on Protocol 4 is a classic representation of Fusion at its finest.