The New Album
Overview: by m.w.
I have loved jazz/fusion music since first hearing Return to Forever in 1975 on their classic album "Romantic Warrior". Over the years, I have loved the music of Weather Report, Pat Metheny Group, Herbie Hancock, Yellowjackets, Steps Ahead, Brand X, Allan Holdsworth, Jean-Luc Ponty, Jeff Lorber Fusion and others. I have loved the intersection of jazz, rock, techno, EDM and more. As an artist, there is so much freedom in not worrying about whether I am "following the rules" or expectations of a musical style or genre.
Creating an album with the combination of jazz, rock, global music and techno has been something I have been wanting to make for decades. In 2019, I made “Michael Whalen & The Fire Brigade” with Vinnie Colaiuta, Michael League and Bob Magnuson. The recording featured songs inspired by the funk and blues music that I grew-up with in Washington, D.C. “Future Shock” while being a "jazz/fusion" record is also heavily influenced by my life-long love of progressive rock. So, the album has some edge and a very different approach than anything else I have ever done.
People have been asking: "what's with that distorted synth sound?" Well, there is a long history of synth players using distortion to create a guitar-like searing lead sound which is a blast to play and is very effective in context. I used the sound on the songs "Future Shock" and "Wanderlust" on the album. Stepping into the legacy of great players like: Keith Emerson, Jan Hammer, Edgar Winter, Jordan Rudess, Derek Sherinian and others, I decided to create this new "voice" for this album which I might use on future releases.
I thought a lot about whom would be the “perfect” band and I came up with Simon Phillips, Tony Levin and Bob Magnuson. These three amazing musicians have spent their careers blurring stylistic lines and pulling influences from one musical genre to another. These guys can also rock - - hard. I knew that the rhythm section would be great. Now, I just needed to come up with some great songs... I love that kind of challenge...