BUCKETHEAD — Left Hanging (with Travis Dickerson) (review)

BUCKETHEAD — Left Hanging (with Travis Dickerson) album cover Album · 2010 · Non-Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
Yet another collaborative effort of BUCKETHEAD in 2010 and the fifth overall with TRAVIS DICKERSON. While this one is primarily a DICKERSON album, the chicken lover has received equally billing. This one is mostly a bunch of unreleased tracks from previous sessions of the “Dragons Of Eden” and “Population Override” albums as well as sessions from the other musical collaborations of the bands Thanatopsis, Axiology and Gorgone sessions. Because of the different sessions involved, this one has many drummers credited. BUCKETHEAD handles bass and guitar, DICKERSON plays keyboards and the drum duties are divided up between Brain, Ramy Antoun and Pinchface.

LEFT HANGING follows in the footsteps of the other BUCKETHEAD & DICKERSON collaborative effort that also included Brain (who is on this album but receives no equal billing) in that it continues the jammy jazz-fusion psychedelia of the “Dragons Of Eden” album. Back are the jazzy chord progressions and the psychedelic 70s mellotron sounding organ runs as well as the fusion bombast of the three respective drummers on board. Noticeably absent from this one is the haunting chamber rock cello added on “Dragons” which gave that a more distinct and unique sound. LEFT HANGING sounds more like a typical jazz-fusion outfit from the early to mid-70s at the zenith of the prog rock heyday.

Unfortunately this one isn’t quite as interesting because it sounds too traditional compared to “Dragons.” Everything is played excellently with BUCKETHEAD not only delivering some mean guitar workouts but some funky slappin’ bass runs as well. DICKERSON dishes out some nice contrast of mellotron drenched organ runs along with more funky keyboard runs a la Herbie Hancock’s “Headhunters” era. Despite sounding like this is some long lost artifact from the 70s, it sounds authentic and organically constructed as all the musicians seamlessly jam and play off each other with ease. Despite the fact these tracks were all recorded during different sessions, they all connect fairly well and actually add more flavor to the overall feel of the album.

As someone who is well versed in jazz and jazz-fusion of the 60s and 70s, LEFT HANGING is by no means a top notch sort of album in that rich field of cross-pollination however this is a very engaging album that is excellently performed, nicely produced and elegantly retro to boot. Jazz-fusion is a type of subgenus that has a varying spectrum with some leaning heavy on the jazz side and other on the rock. I would say that BUCKETHEAD & DICKERSON are definitely closer to the rock side of things on LEFT HANGING with tight steady rhythms that for the most part are absent of strong syncopation and other overtly aspects of jazz. However the chord progressions and some of the dynamics are definitely out of the jazz playbook. The percussion is more of a simple rock beat and fails to engage in a jazz context. This is a fun album to listen to but i’m not as fond of it as “Dragons Of Eden” however there are a few surprises that will shock you!
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