It's not a good time to be a fusion band. The glut of heartless New Age muzak encourages a lot of people to dismiss anything with a name like soft or experimental jazz. I hope guitarist Scott Lindenmuth's second album doesn't suffer that dismissal because he leads a quartet of serious players who produce innovative rhythm and melody, not just New Age sounds to drool to. One track, "The Alamo," acts like a commentary on what Lindenmuth thinks jazz should be about. It starts off with a dialogue between a few bars of repetitive, bell-like New Age stuff and a tough, walking beat.
A good hook - not just unobtrusive background noise - is what Lindenmuth is about. Lindenmuth, whose ads for guitar instruction you've seen for years, carries on the electric and acoustic experiments that people like Pat Metheny, Eric Gale and Robben Ford started in the late '70s. Lindenmuth's first album, Another Side, Another Time, appealed to listeners who wondered what happened to the new jazz of the late '70s. What happened was, it stayed alive and well in the hands of some uncompromising practitioners like Lindenmuth.