JACK FOSTER III Evolution of Jazzraptor (Muse-Wrapped Records)
It's always good to receive self-produced and promoted CDs of a very high quality. And 'Jazzraptor' is
such an album.
The brainchild of Jack Foster III who writes, plays and sings, the material seems to have
come together over a fairly protracted period as is often the case with a debut album. Foster has been
aided in this venture by the lyricist Melanie Myers whom he apparently communicates with by email and has never
actually met. With an album so heavy in lyricism, it's a pity the lyrics aren't printed on the sleeve although they do appear on the website.
Musically, as the title suggests, there is a bluesy jazz tinge throughout which in full flow recalls a lightweight Zappa, Todd Rundgren's Utopia, or
maybe even a heavier Caravan. Foster is well supported by Trent Gardner from prog rockers Magellan and
multi-instrumentalist Robert Berry.
The opening track 'Bohemian Soul' is a standout with nice brass interlude and infectious chorus whilst 'Cat's Got Nine' is more of a raw blues and not particularly representative.
'Feel It When I Sting' finally hits centre target and has Yes/Rick Wakeman overtones. Beware, though, final track 'Nirvana In the Notes' which appears to be a paean to the pianist
Shelly Berg (no, I haven't heard of him either). Perhaps commendably, Myers has no input to this one which lasts a knee-clenching fourteen minutes.
The overall impression is that there is talent at work here but that maybe Jack Foster hasn't quite found his true voice.
Heavy reliance on a lyricist is no bad thing but sometimes the obviously wordy approach gets in the way and you just want to cut
to the meaty instrumentation on offer here. The long jazz track doesn't sit easily with the overall rock feel of the CD. So, like the curate's egg, good in parts,
and there is certainly something here to keep prog fans busy.