18-8810-1 The Spice of Life Too
Produced by Akira Yada
Released on 1988
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
18-8810-1 cover
[high resolution photo]

F inally, I have a reference point for all those Jean-Luc Ponty albums other than Ponty himself. The cyclical nature of the rhythms here, the tart and tasteful guitar lines from Watanabe... itís like Ponty aplenty. The Spice of Life Too is soft fusion, not as spicy as I imagined an album with Bill Bruford and Jeff Berlin would be, but as Ponty has proven not everything has to sound brain-poking prickly to be intelligent. The album is apparently a followup to Watanabeís previous elpee, The Spice of Life. If I find that one for a dollar, Iíll let you know what I think. Right now Iím thinking that I wonít revisit Too too often, just because itís a little mellow for my tastes. The funky ďFu Bu KiĒ and a neat acoustic twist in ďConcrete CowĒ resonate with my musical sensibilities most. The rest of the record is languid, sometimes economical to the point of perfection (ďAndreĒ), other times a bit aimless. Perhaps Iím in a critical rut, since the last band to spark my engine was the Eagles and that canít be good. More likely, I have a very small portion of my brain set aside for fusion, and itís already occupied by Chick Corea, Al DiMeola, Weather Report, Ponty, Brand X and a few nameless stragglers. Small wonder then that Kazumi Watanabe should find it hard to gain a foothold. Of course, I wouldnít want to judge him based on one album. Meshing with a band of primarily rock players can be daunting for any jazz artist; Peter Vettese in particular presents a challenge. Watanabe seems constrained here and maybe thatís style or circumstance. He does execute his lines precisely, but thatís a little like keeping your pencils sharp.

18-8810-1 back cover
18-8810-1 back cover


  1. ANDRE    (Kazumi Watanabe)    5:10
  2. WE THE PLANET    (Kazumi Watanabe)    5:20
  3. FU BU KI    (Kazumi Watanabe/Bill Bruford/Jeff Berlin)    4:54
  4. RAIN    (Kazumi Watanabe)    4:57
  5. SMALL WONDER    (Bill Bruford)    5:05
  6. CONCRETE COW    (Kazumi Watanabe/Jeff Berlin)    5:22
  7. KAIMON    (Kazumi Watanabe)    5:35
  8. MEN AND ANGELS    (Bill Bruford)    5:35


BILL BRUFORD -- Simmons SDX electronic drums
PETER VETTESE -- keyboards
Adam Moseley -- engineer, mixing
Beth Yenni -- art direction
Izumi Inouse Design Plus -- design
Yutaka Kawachi -- front cover photography
Lawrence Lawry -- back cover photography

US 1988 Gramavision LP/CD/CS 18-8810  


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