Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Vincent James Explosion - Buffalo NY


The Vincent James Explosion - VJXIV CD Review 

Left to right Vince, Jim and Jerry

The Vincent James Explosion is comprised of three of the most talented and versatile musicians currently performing on the Buffalo, NY music scene. The current members of VJX are Vincent James Mastrantonio: (Guitar) guitar teacher, producer, composer and entrepreneur, Jim Linsner: (Drums) published author and drum teacher and Jerry Sampson: (Bass), Jerry has won several Buffalo Music Awards for his outstanding bass playing. All three members of VJX are in several other high profile bands and they all are in demand as fill-in players. 

VJXIV is the fourth release from The Vincent James Explosion and it is the best to date from the band. The Vincent James Explosion plays jazz/fusion, instrumental music. 
The music also contains elements of funk, rock and avant-garde jazz. All of the performances on VJXIV are outstanding. The guitar playing is innovative and highlights Vince's versatility on his instrument of choice. VJXIV also contains Vincent James singing debut on "Madness".

VJXIV starts off with "Fanfare for a New Man". This track sounds like a celebration of music and sound.  The solo guitar and keyboards sound huge and powerful. I can hear this song opening or closing out a movie. This song would also work well opening a major sporting event. I can also hear it playing when a team first arrives at the big game. Great opening track. 

"Trial Exhibits" is a prime example of VJX doing what they do best. Rocking out on a jazz/fusion, guitar based groove. The unique sound of the opening rhythm guitar chords immediately caught my ear. The song breaks down into a bass groove which brings in the sharp and blazing guitar solo. The sound of the solo guitar is reminiscent of Joe Satriani/Steve Vai at times and Vince throws in some sweeping guitar techniques for good measure. 

"Kinky B" features a couple of effects-driven and passionately played guitar tracks. The song starts with a jazzy sounding, chord riff but then a dissonant, distorted guitar chimes in and adds a completely different element to the song. The chords continue the dissonant sound of the track. Vince plays an absolutely blazing solo which leads into an off meter turn for the band. This song could be called a avant-garde, jazz/rock fusion all out jam. Vince at his best! One of my faves on VJXIV.  

Next up is Vince's lead vocal debut on "Madness". I've heard this song develop over the years and this is the best version I've heard to date. "Madness" lyrics describe city violence and the end result which is pain and death. This song is a balls out rocker and once again Vince rips his way through an outstanding rock guitar solo. "Madness" is one of the best songs on VJXIV.

In stark contrast to "Madness",  "Jimmy Mack" is a brief jazz/fusion track, with more emphasis on jazz than fusion. Clean jazz guitar accompanies a a single note melody which sounds like it could be a sonically effected, bended guitar or keyboard note. Cool soundz!

"The Truth" features jazzy guitar and blazing rock guitar solos but bassist Jerry Sampson gets a turn showing some solid and melodic chops on a 70 second solo during this track.

"Deep Blue" features Vince playing some great, bluesy acoustic guitar. Unaccompanied except for a rather spacy sounding backing track Vince displays his exceptional technique on the acoustic guitar.

 The 7th song, "Carina" is "dedicated to my Carina" as Vince so eloquently says in the liner notes. Jim Runfola blows some killer soprano sax on this great instrumental.

The last song is VJX's take on the classic "Mission Impossible". The entire band tears it up and once again, Vince blazes through a melodic and polished guitar solo.

CD Review by Joey Tell (Joseph Militello)

Here's a recent picture of Vincent James from the Buffalo News performing with Caitlin Koch and the Jamie Moses band.

Thank you Vince and Carina!!

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