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After 3 studio albums, the German jazz-fusion trio Jazz Pistols have released their first live recording. "Jazz Pistols - live" was recorded in Germany on 2/5/05, and it really shows how dynamic this band can be. Jazz Pistols music ranges from lighter jazz fare to heavy fusion, sometimes within the same song.

Bassist Christopher Victor Kaiser, a Berklee grad, often uses tapping to add chords and double-stops to his parts, making the band sound bigger than just a three-piece. He employs the technique to great effect in this live setting. Guitarist Stephan Ivan Schafer is impressive on the album as well. He knows exactly how to build intensity in his solos, often reaching points where you think he's gonna fly off the rails. His fast-picked runs are always dropped in at just the right spot too.

Songs like "Yellow Fellow" and "Mystic Train" show off the trio's lighter side. These are hip tunes, but the band really shines on the heavier stuff. "Take the brake" is one of the standout tracks of the album. This is a hard driving, odd-time fusion tune, with a great bass solo from Kaiser. "Moby Dick" is another heavier tune where the band sounds great. "Three On The Floor" is impressive as well, with drummer Thomas Lui Ludwig taking a nice solo.

There are three Weather Report covers on the album - "Palladium", "Birdland", and "Teen Town". The Jazz Pistols have recorded studio versions of all three of these songs in the past. Kaiser's bass work on "Palladium" is great. Very nice interplay between the band members on this tune as well. "Birdland" sounds pretty poppy, until Schafer closes it with a wild, unhinged solo. And "Teen Town" is the highlight of the album. This is a great, stretched-out version of the Jaco-penned classic, and Schafer has his best solo on the disc here. He throws in lots of hip lines, some nice sweep patterns, fast alternate-picked runs, the works. He even stomps on the wah-wah pedal at the end. This is the albums "kitchen sink" guitar solo, and it fits the tune perfectly.

Overall, the Jazz Pistols sound very impressive on this recording. This is a tight band that has a great, dynamic live presence.

Rich Murray
http://www.guitar-channel.com