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Spotlights [Issue # 10 ]
Jing Chi:

By Dean Truitt



The term “supergroup” is probably second only to “genius” as the most abused word within the artistic lexicon of the English language. That being said, Jing Chi is undeniably a fusion supergroup that once again ignites its creative chemistry on the band’s new release, 3D. The trio’s third album reunites the rarefied pedigree of Robben Ford (Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell), Vinnie Colaiuta (Frank Zappa, Sting) and Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets), who collectively inspire one another to remarkable heights.

from the sheer virtuosity the band members of Jing Chi share, the overwhelming sense of musicality permeates 3D to a degree that is not often found on recent fusion albums. Unlike most of their contemporaries, Ford, Colaiuta, and Haslip seem to intuitively sense what will benefit the song rather than using the song as a vehicle for mindless shredding. The stellar performances on “Chi Town,” “Time Is A Magazine,” and “Tangled Up” leave the listener desiring to hear the entire album again, becoming only more astounded with each subsequent experience.

Perhaps one of the ingredients for the recording’s sense of palpable urgency is the fact that the actual recording process was both immediate and interactive. In an era of studio perfection and obsessive attention paid to minute detail, Haslip explains, “We played everything live in the studio and I augmented it [the existing tracks] with synths. We did the whole record in three days [recording] . . . and I was totally thrilled with the way it came out sound-wise and I really have to take my hat off to our engineers.”

Another intriguing moment on 3D is the appearance of a vocal track, which is Robert Cray making a guest appearance on a cover of Blind Willie Johnson’s “It’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine.” What adds to intrigue is the fact that Jing Chi made no attempt to simply recreate an ancient standard verbatim; instead, they performed it by incorporating modern elements. Haslip describes, “I asked Vinnie to come up with a [drum] loop to modernize it and Vinnie came up with this wild loop with tabla drums and Hare Krishna bells, which made the song really funky. We ran that loop and played live to it . . . [with Robert Cray] We got one take down on Pro Tools just as a rehearsal and we did another take and that was it.”

One can only hope that the band’s musical alchemy will continue to blossom and the growing cult of ardent fans will enjoy watching Jing Chi take their music into new dimensions.

3D
Tone Center

Jing Chi 3D


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