Think your stereo can handle this?
Reviewed November 2009
Seven Moons Live
By Jack Bruce & Robin Trower
Ruf Records: 2009
To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.
For those of us over the age of, say, the early 40s, getting a new album by Jack Bruce is like finding a diamond ring in your Happy Meal. Legendary for his stint as singer and bassist in Cream, the short-lived late-'60s power trio with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, Bruce is one of the very few with the chops to play at the highest levels in both rock and jazz.
Reunited with guitarist Robin Trower nearly as beloved in rock circles for his string of power-trio albums in the mid-'70s Bruce shows he's recovered from a recent severe health scare, while he and Trower show that the magic they created on a series of late-'70s collaborations has survived the intervening decades and, if anything, grown stronger.
Having participated in several of jazz composer Kip Hanrahan's all-star avant garde projects in the '80s and '90s, Bruce could be forgiven if he'd grown bored with the hard rock format. But with Trower's always-imaginative playing the man continues to grow and improve well into his 60s how could one possibly be bored?
Running through most of the songs from last year's "Seven Moons" collaboration that originally reunited them for the first time in almost two decades, and throwing in a few surprises ("Politician," "White Room"), the interplay between Bruce's jazz-influenced bass and Trower's increasingly blues-based lead guitar plus drummer Gary Husband's lithe beat is superb.
And hearing these two veterans rip through an eight-minute version of "Sunshine of Your Love" in front of a crowd that's nearly delirious with joyous disbelief ... well, Bruce's bass lines just snap, Trower extended solo distills everything he's done on electric guitar for the past four decades, and Husband slowly accelerates the beat, leading to as rousing a closing as you'll ever hear.
Leave it to the old guys to remind us how to rock 'n' roll.
Review by Jim Trageser. Jim is a writer and editor living in Escondido, Calif., and was a contributor to the "Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD" (1993) and "The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues" (2005).