There was a time when you'd say "power trio," and every rock fan knew what you were talking about: bands like Cream and ZZ Top, which used the basic setup of guitar, bass, and drums, added a splash of blues, and then let it all rip with tons of guitar solos. Punk practically put an end to all that, until indie-rock groups like Dinosaur Jr. made fret-shredding cool again. Free Form Funky Freqs — a power trio fronted by Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid — summarizes the history of the genre on Urban Mythology Volume One, but with more jazz licks and less show-offy excess. Reid's speedy soloing and chunky riffing recall Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix in their primes. He also unleashes noises in "Street Corner Prophecy" that could warm the heart of Sonic Youth fans. Jamaaladeen Tacuma's funky, rippling bass and drummer G. Calvin Weston's slam-bash action provide rhythmic momentum while keeping Urban Mythology grounded. FFFF meanders and doodles from time to time (especially in the plodding "Ghost Sign Crossroad"), but its level of inspiration is consistently high.
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