HardReviews 3
by Martin Popoff

Jack Bruce And Friends - Live
(Classic Pictures)

The legendary John Wetton look-and-sing-alike Jack Bruce is the subject of a reconsideration here, Classic Pictures dredging a solid enough German concert vid for re-release. The set is a tribute to good musicianship, Bruce's sinewy, sensuous voice leading the charge, Jack fronting a group featuring David Sancious on keyboards, Billy Cobham on (busy) drums and Humble Pie's third guitarist Clem Clempson on de-clawed guitar. Balancing Cream hits with various obscurities, the effect is one of jazzy fusion contrasted with often halting, stomping bass work (see Sunshine Of Your Love). Still, the sound is good, the jams are high concept, and the video, good enough for an '80s show at a German club called Rockpalast. Extras include a huge photo gallery, a ten page biography and an extensive discography - solo and otherwise - which allows you to drill down to track listings and album cover shots. An impressive resume to be sure, further drawing comparisons with Wetton as well as John Paul Jones, the three comprising the trinity at the top of the classic rock bassist pyramid.
Rating 7

Rondinelli - Our Crosses Our Sins

With Bobby Rondinelli, Tony Martin and Neil Murray in the band (Bobby's guitarist brother Teddy rounds out the band) it would be easy to toss and knock this off as lesser Sabbath with an even lesser stringsman. But this oddly titled record is more like the new Riot, Rondinelli creating bashing, boomy, almost garagey old school metal with a touch of Rainbow and yes, the more power metal-ish bits of those Black Crabapple albums we all tend to forget. The open and battering (yet not pounding) sound from the bottom end, crossed with some of Martin's epic melodies also takes this into the terrain of Led Zeppelin, although the emotional impact is closer to prime Dokken or less than prime Dio. I dunno, I really appreciate the oaken old school of the thing, but I can see folks less appreciative of the pedigree here turning off due to this unforgiving, blocky production alone, not to mention that the drumming is front and centre on the record, and without the best of tones.
Rating 7

Hard Reviews Page 4