SURRENDER TO THE AIR -- Surrender to the Air (Elektra)

This CD is being marketed as a new release by "Phish's Trey Anastasio". In reality, it is an eclectic collaboration featuring Anastasio and (Phish drummer) Jon Fishman, along with members of the Sun Ra Orchestra, members of the Aquarium Rescue Unit, guitarist Marc Ribot, & John Medeski (Medeski, Martin & Wood). It's not an album for the casual fan. As much as Phish improvises in its on-stage performances, this album takes things one step further. For the most part, there's nothing even vaguely resembling a melody here.

Surrender to the Air is a free-form jazz album. It's as if the musicians just went into the studio & played whatever they wanted. Take a bit of early to mid-'70s Miles Davis material, throw in a touch of Lumpy Gravy, & you'll get the idea. In terms of the musicianship on here, it's superb. Fishman is outstanding on the drum kit, as always. Unfortunately, there isn't any kind of cohesive melody to tie it all together. There is very little guitar work heard on the CD, which is a shame given Anastasio's virtuosity on the instrument. The only time a definite chord progression appears on any of the tracks is on "Out", the CD's final track.

Unless you're a fan of avant-garde jazz, most people (even Phish fans) will find Surrender to the Air to be a disappointment.

© 1996 Steve Marshall