"Live From The West Coast" - Steve Kimock Band
review by Charlie Dirksen -

Sold exclusively last month by Grateful Dead Merchandising on the Furthur Tour, the Steve Kimock Band's "Live from the West Coast" CD is now available on the web. Though only five tracks, the release has over 70 minutes of gorgeous instrumentals and features brilliant rock improvisation. The tracks were recorded live at two concerts in July 2000, and later mixed by Brian Risner and Kimock's (formerly Jerry Garcia's and Zero's) sound guru, Howard Danchik.

The first track, Samba, begins serenely but soon, after a rousing solo from keyboardist Tom Coster (who played with Carlos Santana for a number of years), Kimock plays a spine-tinglingly stirring slide solo on a sensuous-sounding steel.

SKB's cover of Footprints, written by Wayne Shorter and popularized by Miles Davis, is enchanting. Kimock's bewitching, envelope-filter-effected solo on his legendary "Florida" (Cripe) guitar is sandwiched by dazzling contributions from Tom Coster on Korg keyboards. Bobby Vega and Alan Hertz provide electrifying accompaniment, and engineer the version's wistful ending.

Five B4 Funk, popularized by Kimock, Vega, Hertz and Ray White when they used to perform together as KVHW, is this disc's most thrilling track. In five time, the song makes for tricky dancing, but the inspired solos from Kimock and Coster -- not to mention the passionate, raging accompaniment from Hertz and Vega -- are amazing.

Keyboardist Pete Sears (of the band Hot Tuna) accompanies on the mystical, erie S.T.D., or Severe Tire Damage -- a reknowned Zero tune. Kimock's sultry, Eastern-flavored solo is soulful and beguiling, but brief. This version ends in a spacey fog of sounds.

The disc closes with one of Kimock's most popular compositions, It's Up to You. Though not flawless in its opening, this version nevertheless involves a variety of improvisations, which exhibit the genius of Kimock, Coster, Vega and Hertz. Fans of KVHW will recognize Pau Pau Go if they listen to Hertz's drumming for several minutes in this track. This It's Up to You travels through jazzy space -- intentionally directionless -- before ending beautifully.

Though a must for any Kimock fan, "Live from the West Coast" is a warm, expertly mixed disc that will complement any improvisational rock aficionado's CD collection.

[Published on: 11/9/00]

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