Originally released in Indonesia in 2011, this high energy and flawless jazz fusion CD is now available on US pressing from the ever giving Leonardo Pavkovic on his Moonjune label. This is Tohpati Ario Hutomo’s power trio Bertiga with Indro Hardjodikoro on bass and Aditya Wibowo on drums. Once again Tohpati blows the doors open with this release.
The opening cut (“Upload”) reminds me of Holdsworth’s ‘Metal Fatigue’ but with even more fumes, and you’ll also be happily reminded of the opening cut off UK’s first album when Mr. Holdsworth made things spin round your head. After listening to many previous works that this versatile guitarist has been a part/master of, he has become so great on his instrument that he now sounds effortless on even the most incredible riffs and runs on lead. This recording shows all his colors very well from the fiery fingered Holdsworth to the nimble melodic Metheny and much around and in between.
If I had any complaints I’d only mention that I wasn’t crazy about the first minute of the 2nd cut (“I Feel Great”) with it’s cheesy funky part, but that soon develops into something much better and broad. In fact, it gets back to that ‘Metal Fatigue’ atmosphere in one place and you can’t help but be impressed with the lead work on this. Also, once you have accepted the bit of humor here I think all is forgiven on the funky chicken part. On the heels of that comes the title track “Riot” that slaps your face around 180 degrees. This starts out innocent enough, but then boom!! You’ll enjoy the many parts to this composition with lots of nice time changes and stops and starts. It’s close to being a suite with all the textures and pieces connected. It’s truly a killer! Just fantastic! I equally love the 4th track (“Middle East”) with it’s solid pulse and flowing mixture of jazz/eastern/classical scales that Tohpati plays here. It shows off his musical education of many styles around the globe, as does the whole CD. If you want to space out, there is a cool laid back dreamy song called “Lost In Space” (Track 9) that is like the best of Pat Metheny, although by the end, it’s speeding past your head. Nothing stays laid back for long on this release.
The impressive performance continues throughout all ten compositions. At times I just smiled at the brilliance of it. There are shades of blues and rock, keeping you off-guard as to what you’ll hear the next second. I found it to be a healthy combination of styles. It allowed the musicians to really spread their wings and fly. And fly they did! It’s hard to ask for anything more on this disc as it can’t help but satisfy the jazz fusion lover of the past and present. I noticed the fun attitude the three musicians had on this recording. To start with it was done in a very small studio. And you will notice lots of laughter either at beginning or end of some of the songs, which is not at all distracting or even odd in this case. It truly gives you a sense of the intimate, relaxed, but hard working mind set of the band. And trust me, there will be zero idea that this was some sort of thrown together jam. On the contrary, it is my favorite recording by Tohpati with all it’s variety and monstrous talent. Recommended!
Reviewed by Lee Henderson on June 21st, 2012