Get this crazy baby off my head!


Project Z

Project Z - Project Z - 2000 - Terminus Records

Imagine what would result from a recording session in which top-drawer musicians who favor improvisation are given no boundaries, rules, restraints, pressures, or expectations when they head into the studio. Imagine how psyched Jimmy Herring, Jeff Sipe, and Ricky Keller were when that opportunity presented itself. The three are among the top players on the scene, and they -- and listeners -- have Atlanta-based Terminus Records owner Jeff Bransford to thank for giving them free reign to take the ball and run with it. Bransford is a longtime fan of Aquarium Rescue Unit (ARU), a band both Herring and Sipe are former members of. He was also no doubt witness to the Monday-night jam sessions in Atlanta in which Herring, Sipe, and Keller allowed no discussion of songs or style prior to plugging in, which is where Project Z was born. The recording debut from Project Z is all instrumental and all original. Terminus told the artists they could record anything they wanted to and it would be released, and although no particular audience was targeted, the album has some similarities to the trio's former bands (ARU, Jazz Is Dead, Phil Lesh & Friends, the Allman Brothers, and Leftover Salmon). It is experimental, progressive, funky, and a barrel of fun. The intrinsic communication between the three musicians is staggering (for example, on the opening track, "Raging Torrent," Sipe uses the bell of his cymbal to accent some of Herring's guitar licks the instant they begin to emerge). "Mud Bug" is a New Orleans blues groove that features "Derek Trucks" on some great slide guitar. Halfway through the tune, the band switches gears, heads into double-time, and then goes back to square one to bring it all back home again. Herring puts the pedal to the medal on "Augusta's Ankle" with a lively dose of smoothed-out funk, and lets loose with some monstrous rapid-fire licks on "Separated Gestures," while "Albright Special" is all about swingin' bebop. You'll also find some drifting acoustic sounds here, as well as three very short fragments of Herring's de-tuned guitar bickering with itself ("Guitargument I, II and III"). The godfather of jam bands himself, Col. Bruce Hampton, makes a few twisted and mysterious vocal contributions. Rev. Oliver Wells tears it up on keys, and Count M'Butu furiously raps the congas. Highly recommended. © Ann Wickstrom © 2013 Rovi Corp | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/release/project-z-mr0000522719

Jimmy Herring is simply one of the best guitarists playing today. His fiery style has graced the work of ARU, Frogwings, the Allman Brothers (where he more than ably replaced Dicky Betts on tour last year) and others. Here, on his first solo outing, he surrounds himself with other top players to deliver a high energy instrumental potpourri. Although equally adept at rock and blues playing, he leans here more towards the jazzier side of rock. On the opening cut "Raging Torrent" drummer Jeff Sipe sets the tone with an uptempo beat leading to some furious soloing by Herring. One of my favorite cuts "Rainbow" also features some beautiful piano work and cool time changes. The whole CD seems to move effortlessly though various musical directions, never losing it's freshness or impact. One minor negative: I'm not sure what the point was in placing short (i.e 30 second) noisy interludes between most of the features tracks, as I found these somewhat annoying. If you could program these out, you'd be left with one of the finest instrumental recordings in recent memory. Jimmy Herring may not be a household name, but this CD is further evidence that he's one of the finest players on the scene today. – from ***** Music to my ears, May 28, 2001 By & © Matthew Bush (Seattle, WA United States) - © 1996-2013, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates http://www.amazon.com/Project-Z/product-reviews/B000QZTSX4/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt/181-0121591-4722358?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

"Project Z" is Jimmy Herring, Ricky Keller and Jeff Sipe, a musical force manifested from years of mutual admiration, love of music and the power of Z. "Project Z" is a mysterious, sonic field with no set boundaries or rules. Rawness, elegance, inside jokes, suffering and intensity create a powerful soundscape for their eponymous debut for Terminus Records. This is the dream of three masters who take the listener on a divine, instrumental journey through time. The open-ended opportunity for musical free-reign was a welcome endeavor for two former members of the Aquarium Rescue Unit (ARU,) drummer Jeff Sipe (aka Apt. Q258) and guitarist Jimmy Herring, who teamed up with famed producer/bassist Ricky Keller and monster organ/keyboardist Oliver Wells for "Project Z"'s self-titled debut. © 1996-2013 Guitar Nine All Rights Reserved http://www.guitar9.com/projectz.html

Extraordinary jazz fusion album with elements of bluegrass, bebop blues, and free jazz from some of the best jazz musicians on the planet. Most of these tracks were originally improvised lengthy pieces which were shortened for the album. The late bassist Ricky Keller said that “From the start we had the idea that the listening experience should be top to bottom- that’s why there are those little snippets of music in between. I was influenced by the Earth Wind and Fire records because they used to do that. They wouldn’t just have ten songs but ten songs and eight pieces of eighteen second music between the songs, so there was a flow, which I think is more of a classical approach. A lot of people enjoy the musical snippets especially when they hear it for the first time because there is anticipation, they don’t know what’s going to happen next. The intention is try to create that vibe of anticipation- I can’t wait to hear what they’re going to do after they’ve just finished something this crazy. I sent it to my mom and she doesn’t normally listen to this kind of music and she said, “When I finished listening to it I was out of breath.” Some people have said that removing these “in-between” noisy segments would improve the album, but they really add an interesting dynamic to the disc. The brilliant Jimmy Herring plays almost unrestrained on this album. Jimmy and co-guitarist Derek Trucks at times improvise entire songs. Their unique and inspired use of the pentatonic scale is marvellous and brings the concept of improvisation to new dimensions. This album is VHR by A.O.O.F.C. Check out Jimmy Herring’s “Subject To Change without Notice” album and read some of Jimmy’s tips and tricks @ http://truefire.com/blog/guitar-lessons/fire-flow-jimmy-herring-improv-tips/ Also, try and listen to Project Z’s “Lincoln Memorial” album [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 125 Mb]


3. MUD BUG 6:24
4. EXTRA COLD 00:16
7. RAINBOW 5:23
10. THE THIRD MAN 00:18
12. YACHTZ 7:21
15. SHE FREAK 00:31
16. JEAN 00:40

All tracks composed by Project Z except Track 16 which is credited to Rod McKuen/Project Z


Jimmy Herring - Electric & Acoustic Guitar
Derek Trucks - Slide Guitar
Ricky Keller RIP - Bass, Piano
Oliver Wells - Organ, Piano, Synthesizer
Jeff Sipe - Drums, Percussion, Underwater Devices
Count Mbutu - Congas
Col. Bruce Hampton - Z Phone, Vocal Sound Effects

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