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Albums Reviews


Theatre de Marionnettes
[Three and half stars]
Sony BMG

Key Tracks: ‘The Sultan of Brunel,’ ‘Just Do It’

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Apr 20, 2009

CAB, for the uninitiated, is two of the biggest names in modern jazz-fusion/rock ”“ bassist Bunny Brunel who’s played with the likes of Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, and guitarist/keyboardist Tony MacAlpine who’s shared stage with Steve Vai and Derek Sherinian amongst others. On Theatre de Marionnettes, their fifth album, CAB also features drummer Virgil Donati. But two of the most interesting names ”“ both from Mumbai – lie within the album credits: composer and musician Sandeep Chowta gets writing credits on two tracks, and sound engineer Tyrone Fernandes (ex-Bombay Black ”“ gets mastering credits. And along with a few other biggies ”“ pianist Chick Corea, keyboardists Brian Auger and Patrice Rushen, guitarist Freddie Fox ”“ CAB proves that they are indeed the “Justice League of music” as they have claimed.

When ”˜The Prankster’ (co-penned by Chowta and Brunel) kicks off proceedings, do not expect polite easing-into: The boys dive straight into unabashed displays of individual virtuousity, but never for a moment do they cross the line into bombastic territory. You can picture Brunel’s fingers flying all over his bass, rivalled only by MacAlpine’s fretboard runs, and Donati thumping out funky polyrhythms. This is the same kind of high-energy madness you hear sprinkled across Theatre. The other Chowta track, ”˜The Sultan of Brunel’ has Brunel himself explore the highs and lows of his signature Carvin BB bass. ”˜Purple Mars’ sees MacAlpine coax a sinuous hook from his guitar and keyboards. ”˜Just Do It’ ”“ whether inspired by the Nike slogan or not ”“ is a bouncy number that would work well for your morning run. But slowing things down are a bit are the extremely lush ”˜Rain’ ”“ with some very graceful keyboards courtesy MacAlpine ”“ and the airy ”˜The Ventriloquist.’  But fast or slow, Theatre de Marionnettes is not a record you can play as background music for your activities: this one demands your attention, and it will grab it too. Put this in and play it loud.

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