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True to Form
Self-titled
Self-produced

I caught True to Form when the band opened for Insolence at the Aptos Club and was immediately impressed. The group's music is metal in its purest sense. Dark, driving, heavy and angry, True to Form cites Machine Head and Fear Factory as influences. Based in the East Bay, the band has only been together since last January, but it performs like a well-oiled machine. With Ron Taniguchi on vocals and guitar, Dave Fabris on lead guitar, Eugene Meydbray on bass and Kevin Jackson on drums, the band comes across polished and professional. Belting out songs like "Turned to Rage" and "Dissolution," Taniguchi's voice rips with intensity and roars on the hidden track, a fierce version of "Three Blind Mice." (Sarah Quelland)


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Chris Cain
Live at the Rep
Chris Cain Music

Last year, the San José Repertory Theatre commissioned local guitar hero Chris Cain to score the musical Thunder Knocking on the Door: A Blusical Tale of Rhythm & Blues by Keith Glover. The music on this album was recorded live at Rep, in June 1997. Of Live at the Rep's 10 cuts, four are culled from the musical. Cain has always been an lethal performer. "Good Evening, Baby" gets things off to a raucous start with a taste of jazzed up B.B. King, a little Albert King and a whole lot of Cain. "Baby" showcases the guitarist's virtuoso gifts. His solo is well-executed; slurred notes are chased by precise, almost delicate fretwork. A master of dynamics, Cain knows when to fire away and when to take it slow. His version of Willie Dixon's "Help Me" is slinky, boasting full-bodied groove. Of the tunes specifically written for the musical, the funky strut of "Thunder Knocking on the Door" and gritty "Back on Top of My World" are stand-outs. The former is an R&B-inflected number boasting a snapping, tightly wound rhythm section and concise, groove-based stroking by Cain. The latter song is a driven by propulsive drumming, a strutting bass line and a growling upbeat vocal. Cain wails, moans and wheezes his way through the tune co-written by Chris and Michael Butler. For those of us unable to make the show, Live At the Rep is the next best thing to being there. Order by mail: Chris Cain, P.O. Box 1271, Santa Cruz 95061-1271. (Nicky Baxter)


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Tiger Okoshi
Color of Soil
JVC

Jazz may have been born in America, but on this album it gets a multiethnic flavoring that is simply intoxicating. With help from Kenny Barron on piano, Japanese trumpeter Tiger Okoshi draws on the expansiveness and liberation of free jazz inside the metered realms of Latin and Afro-Cuban. Okoshi goes on to let his warm, round tone ring through the blues ballad "Tone of Your Voice," written "for the memories of the Great Hanshin Earthquake in Kobe, Japan." But watch out--he's not afraid to play. "A Night in Tunisia" sounds like everybody else's until Tiger gets a hold of the changes, unleashing his technical virtuosity. Hank Roberts' cello softens most tracks without becoming sentimental. Barron's exacting, driving solos complement the horn player without distracting from the mellow, aromatic nature of this breakthrough album. (Chris Knight)

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From the December 10-16, 1998 issue of Metro.

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