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The Graham Album Review #2198

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The Reddcoats: Reddcoats 2

(Independent release as broadcast on WVIA-FM 5/22/2024)

Back in the day, they were called “supergroups” bands comprising musicians known for their work with other well-known groups. In past decades there was Cream and the Traveling Wilburys. Thus week, we have one of those groups consisting of artists whose reputation has already been established working beside some of the stars of pop music. They come together for a worthwhile album of jazz-rock fusion and progressive rock. The band call themselves the Reddcoats, spelled with two “D’s,” and their new release is given the self explanatory title, Reddcoats 2.

The Reddcoats consist of drummer Gregg Bissonette, who has played jazz with Maynard Ferguson and Gordon Goodwin’s big bands, as well as with Santana, David Lee Roth, Don Henley, Ringo Starr, and Ray Charles. His brother, bassist Matt Bissonette, who also does vocals on the album, has played with Elton John and Joe Satriani, among others. Guitarist Andy Timmons was the musical director for Olivia Newton-John for several years. The Reddcoats have two keyboard players, Wally Minko, known for his work with violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, as well as pop artist Pink. Also on keyboards is Ron Pedley, a veteran of Barry Manilow and Air Supply. Michael Medina, who has worked with Edgar Winter and Victor Wooten, is percussionist and also plays some bass and keyboards in the band. The Reddcoats formed in 2018, released an EP, and put out a full album in 2020.

Given the backgrounds of the members, The Reddcoats’ sound is, as one might expect, rather eclectic, running from high-energy fusion to funk to more rock-oriented, though progressive rock might be better description, given the musically sophisticated compositions and the high level of playing by the musicians. During the course of the album, each member gets a chance to stretch out with solos or lead parts. Unlike some other collections of notable instrumentalists, there are a few vocal tracks on the album, and they are well-done. Probably most prominent in the album’s sound is guitarist Andy Timmons, who keeps it cranked it up and is not afraid to do some shredding. There are also a pair of guest guitarists, including Andrew Synowiec, whose career also spans big band jazz as well as playing with the Who, and Bruce Watson. And another notable guest is keyboard man Jeff Babco, also known in the jazz world.

As mentioned, the material covers a rather wide range, but it’s almost always quite electric. Opening it an example of that, an instrumental track called Reddcoat Stew. Guitarist Andy Timmons does some impressive fast shredding on this piece that draws on the more electric side of the jazz-rock fusion spectrum. <<>>

The first of the vocals is All for Me, a nicely done progressive rocker, with a cranked up sensibility but the harmonic complexity that shows the band members’ fusion tendencies. <<>>

One of the highlights of the album is Tilt a Whirl in which the Reddcoats manage to combine a strong funk groove with more of their tricky chord changes. Guitarist Timmons again takes the lead for most of the tune. <<>>

The band notch it up a bit more for the following piece, Mask On Mask Off. The track features solos from most of the members, including drummer Gregg Bissonette. <<>>

The closest thing to a ballad is a song called All I Wanna Do, which is a kind of love song with a good dose stadium rock influence. <<>>

The album’s longest piece is called Still Waiting. It rather personifies the Redcoats’ mixture of progressive rock drive, and jazz-rock fusion’s musical complexity. <<>>

Another relatively laid back tune is Another World, Another Time in which Matt Bissonette’s bass is the lead instrument much of the tune. <<>>

The album ends with perhaps its most interesting track, Pump the Brakes with a kind of percussive wordless vocal providing a kind of slightly frantic funk feel. <<>> Later, a short vocal segment with lyrics makes an unexpected appearance. <<>>

Reddcoats 2, the new album by the all-star progressive rock and fusion group the Reddcoats provides a healthy dose of high-energy but sophisticated electric, mostly instrumental music. The diversity of the experiences of the band members contributes to the album’s stylistic amalgam. The playing is all first rate, and compositions rise to the level of their musicianship.

Our grade for audio quality is an A-minus. Though the recording is volume-compressed more than it needs to be, it still has a decent, punchy sound, especially on Gregg Bisonnette’s drums.

The concept of what they used to call a “super group” with members from well-known bands doesn’t always work. But the Reddcoats definitely succeed. They come up with an impressive recording that should keep fans of fusion and progressive rock smiling.

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This page last updated May 27, 2024