Percolator – Jim Weider
Moon Haw Records
If I had spent 15 years in The Band, and rocked with legends like Keith Richards, Dr. John, Mavis Staples and Bob Dylan, I would probably retire. Not Jim Weider though. He would make a funky new album with cats like Rodney Holmes, Tony Levin and John Medeski.
And, on said album, Weider would play a mean guitar. Percolator, out now on Moon Haw Records, showcases Weider’s considerable axe skills on ten grooved-out instrumentals, and you’re going to dig it. Especially if you lean towards the fusion side of things. Percolator explores an often jazzed-out territory, hence Weider’s choice of sidemen.
Drummer Rodney Holmes has done time with Weather Report’s Joe Zawinul, the Brecker Brothers, and Santana (and currently rocks with Steve Kimock). Bass legend Tony Levin has played with Steve Gadd, Don Preston (from the Mothers of Invention) and, most famously, King Crimson (he’s been a fixture in the band since the 80s). And John Medeski, popping up here on three cuts (producer John Holbrook handles keys on the rest of the disc), is one third of notorious improv-masters Medeski, Martin and Wood.
So Weider knows how to pick em, huh? And, in turn, they know how to kick out the jams. “Troll” is an organ-fueled (Medeski!) trip down hip-hop lane (think Warren Haynes sittin’ in with The Roots). And “Percolator” is a thick slice of Meters goodness, with some rock on top. “Flight” is a decidedly Phishy number, albeit smoother than anything the fearsome foursome would have put out.
Which brings us to my one complaint: the grooves are tight, and funky, but they could use more of a jagged edge. Weider’s clean tone and sometimes sterile production pushes Percolator in the direction of cheese at times (check the aptly titled “Smooth Move”), which one could do without.
But Weider never quite makes it to Spyro Gyra land, so don’t hesitate to pick this one up. Percolator could do you some good.