Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian and author of 11 books including The Great Jazz Guitarists and The Jazz Singers
Bassist Ervin Dhimo, originally from Albania, spent six years living in Greece where he graduated from a music conservatory, and was awarded a European scholarship to study at Berklee in the U.S. where he has since settled. Veteran keyboardist Steve Hunt has been an important musical force since the 1980s, working along the way with Billy Cobham, Stanley Clarke, and Allan Holdsworth (1987-1995) in addition to leading his own sessions for his Spice Rack label. Dhimo and Hunt co-lead Elektrik Market, a unit that on Attraction also features either Vancil Cooper or Steve Michaud on drums and Jerry Leake or Ricardo Monzon on percussion. The fusion-oriented unit performs colorful originals (mostly by Hunt and Dhimo) that are full of surprises and superior playing with many inventive solos from both the bassist and keyboardist.
The program begins with a brief prelude “Portrait Of A Painter” that features Dhimo’s fluent yet thoughtful bass over Hunt’s background keyboards. “Attraction” is much lengthier with Dhimo’s bass creating a funky groove that becomes denser as it progresses. Hunt’s orchestral keyboard and a four-note phrase that pops up in various spots make this an accessible and dynamic performance. “A River Flows” reminds one of Weather Report’s original goal to have “everyone and no one soloing.” The ensemble piece has strong contributions from each of the musicians with Hunt’s keyboards in the lead. Speaking of Weather Report, one is reminded of the interplay between Joe Zawinul and Jaco Pastorius on “Dafina’s Journey.” The performance includes an outstanding keyboard solo, a few changes in tempos, grooves and moods, and an Eastern European feel, making for a fun musical adventure.
“Tirana’s Sunrise” does have the feeling of a sunrise, starting as a thoughtful ballad and picking up steam along the way. The episodic “Witch Hunt” includes catchy grooves that are a little reminiscent of Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters although they are more modern. Concluding this CD is the melodic “Fusion Collusion” and “Time Traveler” which has a rhythmic four-note riff by Dhimo that inspires some fine improvising by Hunt.
The impressive Elektrik Market has created a set in Attraction that fusion fans will enjoy.