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Gino Foti | Global Resonances

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Global Resonances

by Gino Foti

His sixth album features the integration of traditional ethnic music and modern jazz fusion influences into new experiments of cultural hybridity. An amalgam of the sacred and the secular, the mystical and the accessible. (Limited Edition Digipak)
Genre: World: World Fusion
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Where Sweetness and Torment Blend
4:03 $0.99
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2. Seishinryoku
5:00 $0.99
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3. Umoja
4:45 $0.99
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4. Ten Thousand Dharmas
6:14 $0.99
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5. Courageous Convictions
4:29 $0.99
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6. Miradas Pensativas
4:37 $0.99
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7. Wandering Over Withered Fields
5:03 $0.99
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8. Mountain Pass
3:41 $0.99
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9. The Heart of Every Noble Thought
4:02 $0.99
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10. Dwelling in Enchantment
3:51 $0.99
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11. Amor Fati
4:51 $0.99
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12. Rhythm of Living
3:58 $0.99
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13. The End of Sorrow
5:38 $0.99
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14. Prismatic Rays
6:32 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Overview:

During one of his many experiments, scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla discovered that the Earth has a resonant frequency close to 8 Hertz which radiates after powerful electromagnetic events, such as lightning. Physicist Winfried Otto Schumann predicted the same mathematically in the early 1950s, and scientific tests performed later in that decade confirmed that the global resonances excited by lightning discharges in the cavity formed by the planet's surface and the ionosphere resonate at a main frequency of 7.83 Hz, with its harmonics found around 14, 20, 26, 33, 39 and 45 Hz (with daily variations of +/- 0.5).

Not coincidentally, these frequencies are within the same range of our alpha, beta, and gamma brainwaves. The latter's frequency range can be found on the lower register of a standard bass guitar, and has been associated with optimal brain function, increased mental abilities, and higher awareness of reality, in several recent studies.

Given my decision to silence all keyboards and synthesizers for this release, and focus on bass guitars, I thought that the subject of "Earth's frequencies" was appropriate. In the spirit of Tesla, who often sat alone in his laboratory while his equipment pulsed low frequencies, I sat in my home studio and experimented with musical versions of alternating currents, radiant energy, and telluric systems to invent a new set of compositions that will hopefully produce positive effects upon your brainwaves.

Composition Notes:

1.) Triune Aspect - Part I: Where Sweetness And Torment Blend

Skimming through an old notebook, I came across an idea for a trilogy based on the triune aspect - everything is a multiplicity and a trinity in unity - based on several ancient philosophies & religions from around the world. The most often used example is the Holy Trinity of Christianity: God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In India, there is the Trimurti: the manifestation of the Supreme in the forms of Brahma, Vishnu & Shiva - the creative, preservative, and destructive Gods of the Hindu pantheon.

In the real world, two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen can yield water, ice, or steam under different aspects. Although vastly different, they are built from the same basic elemental blocks.

My original concept was to use a trio setting of bass guitar, guitar & percussion as the basic elements, but I decided to also add dulcimers, as they worked well with the other instruments, and their sound is reminiscent of harps, lutes, zithers, etc. throughout the world. From here, I began sketching out ideas for compositions in the jazz, rock, and world music fusion aspects.

This part is the former, using a jazz drum kit & eclectic percussion from throughout the globe for some ethnic spices, in addition to fretted & fretless bass, a twelve-string acoustic guitar, and a chromatic dulcimer - which produces sharp & flat notes, making it ideal for this jazz fusion setting.

2.) Seishinryoku

A few months into this project, I grew extremely tired of compiling, arranging, and editing drum & percussion loops/samples, so I decided to embark on a series of duets, with my bass guitar paired with different ethnic instruments.

After the usual period of trial and error, I found a (near) perfect partner in the shamisen (aka samisen) - a three-stringed, Japanese lute played with a plectrum called bachi. Its construction is similar to that of a guitar or banjo, but with a fretless neck called sao, with its strings stretched across a square resonating body, called dō, which is drum-like - a hollow body with a taut skin covering it, very much like a banjo. The bachi is often used to strike both string and skin, creating a highly percussive sound, ideal for interaction with a bass guitar in this type of setting.

This composition features both instruments playing rhythmic, melodic & harmonic ideas in a theme & variations with interludes configuration, with the elaborate bass guitar arrangement being one of my favorites on this album.

The title translates into "spiritual power", "emotional strength", "force of will", or "spiritual inner power" depending on the context.

3.) Umoja

Umoja is the Swahili word for Unity, as well as one of The Seven Principles (Nguzo Saba) of Kwanzaa. It stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, reflected in the African proverb, "I am We" (or "I am because We are").

The instrumentation, in order of appearance, includes: panned guitars, panned African drums & percussion, bass guitar, and a saxophone section, featuring the alto sax. The composition is pan-African, although overweighted with South African elements, and also includes tinges of Latin music, Jazz, R&B & other descendants of African music, making extensive use of call-and-response phrasing.

Like the metaphor of the proverb, it is meant to showcase the affirmation of the communal spirit: a multiplicity of voices, their interconnectedness, and how they thrive by sharing the responsibility for that community with others.

4.) Ten Thousand Dharmas

A duet with bass guitar and guzheng (aka zheng) - a Chinese plucked zither that is the ancestor of several similar Asian instruments, such as: the Japanese koto, the Korean gayageum, the Mongolian yatga, and the Vietnamese dan tranh. It features several strings, ranging from one to two dozen, movable bridges, and is traditionally tuned to a pentatonic scale - ubiquitous in Asian music. It is one of the most ancient musical instruments, hence the Chinese prefix "gu", and is considered one of the main chamber (as well as solo) instruments of Chinese traditional music.

This composition acts as a counterpart to Seishinryoku. It contains another intricate bass guitar arrangement (also another one of my favorites), but performed with a clean tone, that features a plethora of natural harmonics, passages with all four strings resonating simultaneously, call-and-response with the guzheng, and usage of a delay pedal in some sections.

5.) Courageous Convictions

After all my skeletal arrangements were completed, I could not help but notice that this was becoming a true solo project, so I took one of the compositions and altered it slightly so I could invite my Electrum bandmate, guitarist Dave Kulju, to return as guest musician.

In the past, I have presented him with African, Asian, Latin, and Indian elements, so it was time to do something with a Mediterranean/Middle-Eastern vibe. For percussion, I used doumbeks inspired by modern Egyptian players, giving the piece somewhat of a jazz-funk feel. The chord progressions were influenced by Arabic, Greek, and Turkish music, and the fretless bass solo by Nuevo Flamenco.

I asked Dave to introduce as many hard edges to the arrangement as possible, which may have been counterintuitive to both the piece and his primary style of playing. We tend to agree on a lot of musical subjects, but have had our share of disagreements over the years, like most people. I trust his ears and musical sense implicitly, but I think that (for once) I made the right call.

In what has become a deep-rooted inside joke between us, I chose the title from one of our favorite Rush songs.

6.) Triune Aspect - Part II: Miradas Pensativas

The title is Spanish for Pensive Glances, which should provide some insight on the imagery I was going for. The aspect for this piece is world music, with an emphasis on tradition. The chromatic dulcimer of Part I is replaced with an acoustic one; the 12-string is substituted with a classical guitar playing in the Habanera (Cuban contradance) style & Flamenco; and the percussion instruments are changed to doumbeks inspired by traditional Turkish music, coupled with a bare-bones drum kit playing various South American/Latin rhythms.

In the tradition of most trilogies, some musical elements and attributes from the first part were altered to fit the mood and characteristics of this one.

7.) Wandering Over Withered Fields

This companion piece to Seishinryoku was inspired by the tragic events of March 2011 in northeast Japan, and is dedicated to all the people who perished.

The title is from one translation of the jidei of the 17th-century haiku master Matsuo Bashō: "Tabi ni yande, yuma wa kareno o, kake meguru". A jidei is a farewell poem, written just prior to dying, which is considered as a gift to one's family, friends, students, etc., as well as one's own reflection on death. This tradition began with Zen monks, but was also very popular with poets and samurai warriors.

Once again, shamisen and bass guitar trade rhythmic, melodic & harmonic ideas, this time in a more melancholy and solemn mood.

8.) Mountain Pass

An experimental piece that came about through my search for new types of music that I was not completely familiar with. For whatever reason, I latched on to mountain music from around the world, including our own Appalachian & Bluegrass.

Wiith several rural habitats and musical traditions to choose from, I began sketching out a piece based on Andean & Tibetan music, but soon decided to descend several thousand feet/meters, and blend American mountain music with its Mediterranean counterpart(s), simply because they spoke louder to me.

I imagined a mountain pass between two groups of people that reflects the harsh, rocky landscape of one, the wild, rugged beauty of the other, and the fiercely independent spirit of both.

Unlike traditional mountain music, where bass instruments are dedicated to supporting the other players, I arranged my bass so it has an (almost) equal voice to the guitar, while still acting as a fulcrum between it and the percussion section, made up of doumbeks and tambourine.

9.) The Heart Of Every Noble Thought

I have listened to Johann Sebastian Bach's music since before I was born - literally - as I am certain that his works were played by my parents while I was in utero. When I decided to break a twenty year tradition and perform somebody else's music, there was only one obvious choice for me.

What wasn't obvious was which composition to choose among the hundreds I love. I narrowed a list of two dozen possibilities down to six, and finally decided on the Fugue in G minor, catalogued as BWV 578. This is one of his most recognizable tunes, usually referred to as the "Little" Fugue - because of its length, not because of its musical importance. It was also the most challenging one for me out of the six, since I would need to arrange and synchronize four bass guitars.

On the original score for organ, the pedal is honored as a full equal to the three manual voices, which arrive in descending order: soprano, alto, tenor - and finally - bass. (Given the tonal range of a standard four-string bass guitar, my voices are more like: countertenor, tenor, baritone & bass.)

This fugue features various melodic contours, harmonic character & structure changes, contrapuntal rhythms & melodies, dynamics, call and response sections, and syncopated rhythms - all brilliantly arranged in less than four minutes.

In hindsight, I probably should have chosen one of his less challenging compositions, or one that required fewer bass guitars, to achieve a better result. Although far from perfect, I think this track is a solid first effort, and worthy of addition to this album. At some point in the future, I intend to edit, remix with new panning schemes & reissue it, to give it the reverence it deserves... Soli Bach Gloria.

10.) Dwelling In Enchantment

This is one of those pieces that ends up sounding nothing like its conception. The original idea was to explore African polyrhythms, like 3 against 4. Since keyboard instruments were out, I decided that chromatic percussion would be the best melodic fit, so to my complicated bed of African rhythms, I sketched out marimba, kalimba, and then fretless bass guitar parts.

By themselves, not bad, but together the interactions were extremely disappointing to me. After several failed salvage operations, I ended up removing the African drums & percussion, and used miscellaneous mallet instruments as the rhythmic bed. Then, for some reason, I replaced the kalimba with mbira -- after all, if one African thumb piano doesn't work, another one will, right? [shakes head in disbelief]

Effects were now added to the mallet instruments to make them "shimmer", which also rendered them useless as the primary pulse, so they were set in the background to take the place of where a synthesizer part would be, while a very enthusiastic drummer was introduced to the mix.

The fretless was replaced by fretted bass. That helped, but the drums were too hyperactive, and the bass was too sedate, so their approaches were switched. Much better, but not quite there, so what the hell is the problem now?? Ah, yes - the damn thumb piano!

The mbira was replaced with a vibraphone as the main treble instrument, and I finally had a skeletal arrangement to work with. After some chord progression changes, I ended up with an eclectic piece that still contains 3/4 & 6/8 vs. 4/4 polyrhythms, but in more of a vibrant jazz-rock fusion vibe than African-influenced world music.

11.) Amor Fati

Nietzsche's famous dictum, amor fati, is a Latin phrase that loosely translates to "love of Fate" or "love of one's fate". It is used to describe an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one's life - including suffering and loss - as good. Everything that happens is destiny's way of reaching its ultimate purpose, and so should be considered good. Moreover, it is characterized by an acceptance of the events that occur in one's life.

Since I had never done a duet with bass and classical guitar, I thought this release gave me the perfect opportunity to release my "inner gypsy". One after another, I sketched out ideas in several flamenco styles, in several tempos, in several time & key signatures, etc. Confusion soon set in as I had started over a dozen pieces, when I only needed four to five minutes worth of music. To paraphrase Nietzsche, "Passion is the cruelest animal". It was time to take a break and view things through the multiple lens system of common sense, logic, objectivity, and reason.

I ended up deleting all the up-tempo pieces, since even I could not tell what notes the bass was playing during some passages!

The slower pieces started sounding dirge-like to me, instead of passionate or elegant, so they were summarily dismissed, leaving six mid-tempo sketches.

Unable to choose just one, and tired of auditioning/deleting material, I decided to let fate intervene. I assigned each sketch a number, threw a die, and the "winner" was the rumba gitana, or Flamenco rumba.

The syncopated rhythms are clearly of African origin, the framework is largely based in the musical traditions of Spain, and it has developed over the years on both sides of the Atlantic, most notably in Cuba. In Nuevo Flamenco, it is part of the Cantes de ida y vuelta, or "return songs", referring to Spanish music which diverged in the New World. All in all, an excellent choice by Fate for my style of playing.

12.) Rhythm Of Living

Another experimental piece where I was looking to substitute instruments that I had not used before in place of acoustic piano. I liked the interactions in Umoja between bass guitar and saxophones, and thought it would be interesting to put the bass guitar in a saxophone section - replacing the baritone sax - and do a world jazz piece that ebbs and flows between major and minor chord progressions, sounding like a mix of standard and Afro-Latin jazz, with the individual saxophones and bass guitar playing in a touch-and-go fashion.

During the mixdown process, I decided to delete most of the rhythm bass guitar arrangement, so the textures of the different saxophones and the other rhythm section instruments would stand out more. I am not entirely sure if this was the correct thing to do, but it's too late to do anything about it now, so...

13.) The End Of Sorrow

A composition inspired by the "Om frequency", which based on a mathematical calculation of the rotation of the Earth around the Sun works out to be 136.102 Hz, or in musical note frequencies, a C# (or Db).

In Indian temple music, it is used as the base tone of the sitar, referred to as Sadja (or Sa) and many tuning forks and gongs in the Far East are also tuned to this "Earth frequency". It is said to stimulate the Anahata, or heart chakra, which is widely believed to be good for meditation. In the Sanskrit tradition, it is referred to as the “Unstruck Sound” or “Anahata Nada”, literally meaning “the sound that is not made by two things striking together”, the point being that all audible sounds are made by at least two elements: finger & string, stick & drum, two vocal cords, waves against the shore, wind against the leaves, or any two things visible (or invisible) either striking each other or vibrating together.

The audible sound of OM is the same as the spiritual acronym AUM mentioned in all the Upanishads, and especially elaborated upon in the Taittiriya, making this a tie-in with my 'Vedic Mantras' release. A-kara means form or shape, like earth, trees, or any other object. U-kara means formless or shapeless, like water, air, or fire. Ma-kara means neither shape nor shapeless (but still exists) like the dark matter of the Universe.

This arrangement is based around a three-note chromatic mantra of D, C, and C#, played by both sitar and bass guitar, backed by tanpura drones and a tabla set tuned to C#. Male voice, temple bells, swara mandala (a zither used in Hindustani music), and fretless bass round out the instrumentation.

14.) Triune Aspect - Part III: Prismatic Rays

Obviously the rock fusion aspect of the trilogy, this piece features fretted bass guitar, acoustic guitar, and Latin rock-styled drums as the main rhythm section, with dulcimer, electric guitars, and fretless bass as the lead instruments in this energetic track. Although slanted towards Latin jazz fusion, there are a few African, Asian, and Indian influences thrown in as well.

I composed it in a modular fashion, so I could move the sections around freely, until I was satisfied with the overall flow. Once again, some ideas from the first two parts were modified and re-introduced in new forms.

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Reviews


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Joseph Shingler

Highly recommended to fans of new age, Smooth Jazz, and World Music.
"For his sixth solo release "Global Resonances", Sicilian born composer Gino Foti has set aside all manner of keyboards creating an album featuring bass guitar as the primary instrument. But don't let that fool you into thinking you'll be bored to tears listening to some ego inflated bassist laying down a thumping bottom end bass track then simply riff away with multiple bass guitar overdubs. If that were the case this would be the shortest review in Prognaut's CD Review Archive. But Foti's midi bass is capable of simulating any number of musical instruments, adding musical textures that the bass guitar alone could never achieve. What you can expect is a wide array of middle eastern stringed instruments as well as sax and horns. Any acoustic instrument or unearthly sound a keyboard player can emulate with a midi or sampling keyboard is available to Foti's midi bass. I learned long ago after listening to albums from guitarists like Allan Holdsworth and Mark Dwane who incorporate the SynthAxe into their repertoire, that faux-Mellotron string washes and otherworldly Moog synthesizer sounds weren’t restricted solely to instruments with black and white keys - but stringed and wind instruments as well. And talented artists like Gino Foti have tapped into that technology.

Following in the footsteps of innovative musicians like Mark Egan (fretless bass), Chris Squire (Rickenbacker 4001), Tony Levin (Chapman Stick), and Trey Gunn (Warr Guitar), Foti has taken his bass playing to that next level, giving prominence and new voice to an instrument, which by design as part of the rhythm section, is normally relegated to the background.

Once again as on his last album “Xenosonic Journeys” Foti experiments with a variety of Arabic, Middle Eastern, Asian, Latin, European, tribal, and Afro-Cuban rhythmic patterns, as well as an impressive four bass guitar arrangement of J.S. Bach's "Fugue in G Minor".

With the exception of a guest appearance by fellow Electrum band mate Dave Kulju (Electric Guitar) on the track "Courageous Convictions" this is all the work of Gino Foti - performed, arranged, produced, engineered, mixed, and mastered.

Unlike the music of his previous band Electrum - an energetic instrumental progressive rock trio in the vein of King Crimson and Rush, producing the albums "Frames Of Mind" (1998) and "Standard Deviation" (2002) - his post-Electrum solo career sees Gino Foti embracing the World Music genre, incorporating elements of ambient new age, jazz and ethnic fusion, down tempo, electronica, techno, trance and European classical into his compositions.

"Global Resonances" is an aural travelogue of the imagination, crisscrossing the globe to exotic locales like the mysterious orient or a world of Turkish delights. The music transcends time itself, transporting the listener to ancient Persia when Scheherazade delighted and distracted her husband Shahryah with heroic and romantic tales of "One Thousand And One Nights".

Though these may not be the exact destinations Foti intended when composing each track ... none-the-less his music sparked my imagination, whisking me airborne on a magic carpet ride far from my Indiana ranch house.

Although not necessarily progressive rock, I would highly recommended "Global Resonances" to fans of new age, Smooth Jazz, and World Music. As well as his previous albums “Xenosonic Journeys", “Vedic Mantras”, “Bhavachakra”, “Sphere Of Influence”, and “Orbis Terrarum”." ~ Joseph Shingler (ProgNaut.com)
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Steve Roberts

Masterfully played... beautiful stuff.
"The sixth solo album from the bassist of the group Electrum. Further explores his love of various world music cultures incorporating Arabic, Latin & Asian scales & grooves. Masterfully played by Foti who performs on various bass guitars and uses samplers to great effect. Dave Kulju - also from Electrum - guests on one track on electric guitar, but everything else is played & programmed by Gino, including an arrangement of J.S. Bach's "Fugue in G minor" for 4 bass guitars! Beautiful stuff." ~ Steve Roberts (ZNR Records) [Amazon.com Editorial review]
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Matthew Forrs

Poignant, contemplative, ambulatory, and engaging.
"The new work of Gino Foti's musical creations shines through in new age, experimental, and bass-infused melodies and rhythms on Global Resonances. Gino's strictly instrumental songs are poignant, contemplative, ambulatory, and engaging. The diverse bass guitar stylings are partly due to MIDI, but there are also loops and samples that fill in the melodies. There are fourteen different tracks in all that span over one hour. Some of the bass sounds are rather light and represent an East Asian flair. However, Gino's music is steeped in avant-garde and experimental styles with a world fusion element rarely seen in contemporary releases in new age genres. There are not only East Asian sounds and influences here, but African elements exist to some extent. The jazzy leanings are truly impressive on "Umoja." Global Resonances is aptly-titled, because it represents a worldly connection that brings together various cultural components that seem to mesh very well. Whatever inspires Gino, we can be sure he will make it his own and evoke a sense of magnificence and entrancement in all who listen. Play it today!" ~ Matthew Forrs (Inside World Music) http://insideworldmusic.blogspot.com
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Eric Johnson

Highly recommended to all fusion fans!
Global Resonances, Foti's sixth world music fusion release, is somewhat of a departure from his previous efforts. Inspired by the low resonant frequencies generated by our planet, he abandons keyboards & synths on this album to feature his bass guitars in various musical situations. Which is not to say that this is a solo bass project like you would hear from a Victor Wooten or Michael Manring, although he has the chops to rival these monsters. This album is more in line with releases like Kings of Sleep & Radio Free Albemuth by Stuart Hamm, or some of Jeff Berlin's catalog, but with more prominent world music elements. The all-instrumental tracks feature the ensemble, with a balance of power among all the instruments. In addition to different basses, dulcimers and guitars, including a guest spot by Electrum bandmate Dave Kulju who radiates on the Arabian spiced "Courageous Convictions", Foti uses saxophones, vibraphone, and a slew of ethnic instruments & percussion via MIDI bass guitar and software sampling.

Throughout the album, Foti is like a fine-tuned high-end sports car from his native Italy. His timing is precise, he sounds impressive in any gear, but really shines when he opens it up on tracks like "Seishinryoku", an intricate & energetic duet with shamisen, "Mountain Pass", a vigorous hike through a rocky sonic landscape, "Dwelling In Enchantment", where he turns into a polyrhythmic perpetual motion machine & the high-octane closer "Prismatic Rays". His ability to shift effortlessly between melody, support and lead, as well as fretted and fretless bass on the "Triune Aspect" trilogy, recalls both jazz fusion players like Mark Egan & the iconic Jaco Pastorius, and prog rockers like Chris Squire & Geddy Lee, who Foti cites as his main influence.

Besides "Seishinryoku", there are three other duets that are well-conceived and executed: "Ten Thousand Dharmas", with the bass producing what sounds like ten thousand harmonics alongside a gu zheng, the tightly woven flamenco of "Amor Fati" & "Wandering Over Withered Fields", an earnest complement to Seishinryoku that is dedicated to the Japanese people who died during the earthquake and tsunami a few years ago.

In addition to the thirteen original tracks, there is a version of Bach's "Little" Fugue for four bass guitars that feels a bit out of place, but is wonderful to listen to nonetheless. Hamm & Berlin come to mind again, with their own arrangements of Bach pieces over the years.

Highly recommended to all fusion fans, especially if you enjoy any or all of the bassists mentioned above.
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