Jazz & Blues Report
(July/August 2002 • issue 258)

Charged Particles


Bopo Records

It's been eight years since the Columbus, Ohio neo-fusion trio, Charged Particles, released their self-titled debut album. Their second CD is an electrifying 13-track collection of mostly originals by Caleb Hutslar (keyboards), Mike Rak (Bass) and Jon Krosnick (drums, percussion), who express themselves with fiery imagination and impeccable technique. Rak and Hutslar, contribute five tunes each and Krosnick, two. Rak's compositions, such as the opener, "Evening Street," "Monopoly," "The Eleventh Commandment," are usually beat-driven showcases for Krosnick's explosive traps artistry. Krosnick's a master drummer, inspired by Peter Erskine, Dave Weckl and Steve Gadd. Hutslar's compositions such as "Three Groups of Three" and "Continue," lean more to the lyrical side, often reflecting the pianist's classical training and romanticism as well as traces of his idols, Chick Corea, Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson. The calypso-flavored "Ambasay" was written by Steve Hiltner. Their complex, intelligent "plugged-in jazz with a spark" draws influence from Chick Corea, Larry Coryell, Weather Report, the Yellowjackets, and other fusioneers, yet they have a distinctively personal sound that comes from their abilities to also play post-bop, American songbook standards, Brazilian jazz, and more. Krosnick and Hutslar are classically trained and, occasionally, those influences creep into their repertoire. They bring astonishing freshness to the fusion sound. Catch them at the Berea Arts Festival on September 8.

By Nancy Ann Lee

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