Album Review: Evolution by Jake Hertzog

Jake Hertzog
Buckyball Records

Fusion guitarist Jake Hertzog is one of a kind. His tracks are consumed by a rush of thunderous bursts and reflective meanderings that keep the music congealed. His third solo CD, Evolution is a collection of original tunes topped by a remake of Bruce Springsteen’s hit song “Streets of Philadelphia.” Produced by Hertzog’s bassist Harvie S, Evolution is a body of work that moves through a series of natural transitions taking the album from one phase to the next along Hertzog’s journey through softy, wispy tendrils and craggy knolls.

The chord distortions freckling “Timeline” are supported by processed beats while the lo-fi/ hi fi atmospherics strewn across “Don’t Bother” builds up to a showering crescendo before being lowered into a comfy lull. Hertzog’s reworked production of Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia” has a traveling rhythm fastened to picturesque guitar effects and chord dynamics which morph it into an entirely new song. A flare for striking ascents, Hertzog cinches the thundering bursts along “Gloria” with rock-inspired improvisations liken to Pat Metheny and buffered by slinky orchestral accents. The gritty texture of the guitar chords in “Renegade” give the track a raw, rugged finish which softens to easy listening riffage ambling along “Common Ground” as Victor Jones’ drumming in “Solar Flare” produces a frothy effect roving along the melodic motions.

Jake Hertzog’s new album Evolution demonstrates his prowess as a pivotal guitarist on fusion’s landscape. The sleek articulation in the chord transitions and the gradual tightening in the chord patterns show a rigorous workout regiment on the guitar’s strings. Evolution exhibits the current phase of jazz fu8ion and Hertzog’s place in it. His exuberance about treading this path is palpable and resonates in every track.

Jake Hertzog – guitar, Harvie S – bass, and Victor Jones – drums

Don’t Bother, Firefly, Timeline, Streets of Philadelphia , Gloria, Forms, Renegade, Common Ground, Sleep Close, Solar Flare

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