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  Image: CD Cover: THE AVENGERS, On A Mission.  
THE AVENGERS GuR002
On A Mission  
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A person could be excused if at first glance of the cover of The Avengers' debut album, they perceived it to be something other than an extraordinary progressive jazz-fusion album. (... After all, it is highly unusual to find a jazz band naming themselves after a group of comic superheroes and sporting an album cover depicting themselves in all their crime-fighting splendor!)The Avengers are led by guitarist Beledo -- composer of seven of the album's eight tracks -- and keyboardist Adam Holzman (who also contributed the album's great artwork), and supported solidly by renowned veterans, bassist Lincoln Goines and drummer Kim Plainfield. Dynamic depictions aside, once you're past the cover and digging into the disc, it becomes quickly apparent how truly special On A Mission is. The album wastes no time, opening with the powerful title track -- a lush, concise piece which immediately puts the group's sensitive dynamics and strong melodic sensibilities on display. The song is full of promise and adventure, and an accurate gauge of what's in store.Through this and everything that follows, the fretwork from Beledo is nothing less than spectacular and undeniably world-class. His rhythm work is fresh and vivacious. His tones are full-bodied, as evidenced through his towering, emotion-drenched solos and the polished lead voicings by which he articulates themes and melody lines throughout the project. Listeners will find Beledo's compositions to be intricate, inventive and masterfully plotted, producing songs that immediately render you captive.Holzman's bold, courageous chord work serves as the perfect backdrop for Beledo's grandiose sonic excursions. Adam (the former keyboardist/band director for MILES DAVIS, and current one with prog giant, STEVE WILSON) also proves himself to be an equally-capable lead voice, contributing some breathtaking solo work -- particularly evident on "Portia" and "Siddhartha's Return." While remaining poised, poignant and commanding in his supportive roles, the album features sparkling work throughout from Holzman on synth, organ and Fender Rhodes.Propelled by Goines' lively, ultra-solid bass work and Plainfield's flowing, understated, complimentary grooves, The Avengers leave no doubt that they are a stellar team -- lean, imposing, and undeniably worthy of their heroic credentials. "Raulendo," "No Big Deal" and the album's closer, "Jimmy O'Donnell's Air," further evidence the group's penchant for revving up commanding melodic themes while effortlessly hugging the tight, twisting turns with spectacular style and agility. Their light, joyous interplay and ESP-like collective continuity stands out over the disc's entirety.While there are many among the progressive ranks who view the "fusion" subgenre as a dying entity (or already deceased, even), The Avengers make a strong, compelling case to the contrary. This is profound progressive jazz-fusion; the stuff of legends: unafraid to flex its muscles and unleash super-human feats whenever the circumstances warrant such bold displays of musical gallantry.It is with great pride and privilege that MoonJune offers this triumphant, superlative work. Fusion this polished and articulate -- and "immediately essential!" -- deserves a world audience.
 
 
TRACKSClick on any highlighted track title to listen to individual audio samples, or listen to them all on the player to the right.
 
 
PERSONNEL
ADAM HOLZMAN: keyboards
LINCOLN GOINES: bass
KIM PLAINFIELD: drums
BELEDO: guitar
PRODUCTION
Recorded and mastered at Kaleidoscope Sound, New Jersey. Engineer: Randy Crafton
Produced by The Avengers.
Executive Production: A Starry Night Music, NYC
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ALBUM REVIEWS

"... On A Mission is a straight-ahead fusion album somewhat along the lines of recent offerings by artists such as Mike Stern, Allan Holdsworth, and John McLaughlin's Fourth Dimension.

"Their playing, while never overly flashy or pushy, is always well above the minimum required to merely put the tunes across. In other words, they're putting some elbow grease into it, having fun with this music, and their enthusiasm easily carries over into the listening experience.",

"On A Mission is a fine record. ... the music is well-constructed and beautifully played ... Beledo's sound on guitar is most closely allied to that of Holdsworth and Connors. The Uruguayan possesses a similar propensity for seamless legato phrasing, unpredictable intervallic leaps, and fluid, horn-like lines. Beledo's compositions are also substantial and distinctive ..."

- Dave Wayne, All About Jazz

"... a tasty aperitif ... packed as it is with punchy, tight, unfussy but consistently intelligent fusion, impeccably performed."

- Chris Parker, London Jazz News

"The Avengers lineup reads like a chapter out of a jazz-fusion textbook. This quartet is polished, professional, and surprisingly fresh despite their storied history.

"While every super hero is vital—someone has to be superman. Beledo is blindingly virtuosic without being overbearing and his solos come off like silk.

"... a great listen and a must for any jazz-rock fan. ... This quartet goes beyond the snapshot, tribute, or nostalgia. They’re out to promulgate all there is to love about jazz, rock, and jazz-rock fusion for listeners young and seasoned."

- Curtis Smith, Progulator

"Roll all these highly experienced cats together, and you get a sound very much located in Gongzilla, Nucleus (minus the horns), Dixie Dregs, Weather Report, and any number of top-shelf fusion ensembles. It goes without saying, then, that melodic invention, technical prowess, vast shoals of improv, and endless convolutions are the order of the day.

"... nothing stays still for very long, everything an exhilarating mental travelogue of oncoming colors, scents, vistas, and upbeat emotions—tinged, of course, with dark peripheries here and there, shadows and intrigue every so often tracking the listener from a distance. One might even use On a Mission as party music…but only if the celebrants were very up, very hip, and quite intelligent, not to mention pleasantly buzzed and garrulous. It's that kind of CD."

- Mark S. Tucker, FAME

"Those with a deep interest and knowledge about jazz will most likely have taken an interest in this quartet merely by noting the names of the members.

"... melodic, elegant and smooth jazz rock, focusing on harmonies and distinct melodies. A fine example of how intriguing instrumental jazz rock can be when performed by high quality musicians, and an album that comes recommended to those who appreciate accessible jazz rock of that kind."

- Olav M Bjornsen, Progressor

"Beledo has remarkable technique and feel, at times sounding a bit like Allan Holdsworth and Scott Henderson rolled into one, and paired up with the awesome talents of Holzman, The Avengers come across like vintage Tribal Tech, Tony Williams Lifetime, UK, and Soft Machine.

"Great '70s inspired fusion like this doesn't come around too often, so if you favor virtuoso jazz-rock with supreme chops and well crafted melodies you'll need to check this little gem out."

- Pete Pardo, Sea of Tranquility

"By looking at this record’s cover one can hardly guess what lies under the comics surface, but if the words “mavericks” and “muscular” come to mind, you’re in for a treat.

"Saving the day rarely feels so savory!"

***** (5 Stars)

- Dmitry M. Epstein, DMME

"Beledo is a Uruguyan guitarist of both power and finesse. He and his jazz-rocking outfit The Avengers carry on in fine fashion in the CD release On A Mission (Gudari). The music is in the elaborate modern fusion mode ..."

"... this one satisfies. Beledo is a true artist of the guitar!"

- Grego Applegate, Gapplegate Guitar and Bass Blog

"... an album of first-class jazz fusion ..." (translated)

- Dany, Progressive Area

"After a promising and exhilarating emergence around the early 70’s, the years following have seen critical attention shift away from fusion in favor of traditional jazz, creating an unfortunate (and unnecessary) split into two camps, dissuading many artists from broadening this most eclectic musical form. Gladly, this is not so for the Avengers. Keepers of the flame, they are alchemists, combining elements of the richest historical sound-time, rock and jazz, which by their very mention invoke originality and progression.

"... giving expression to new ideas – an original voice transporting the genre onward, inspired by these awesome times!"

- Laurie Monk, Truth In Shredding

"This album is essentially fusion. That said, I tend to generally put fusion under the progressive rock heading. ... Whatever you want to label this, though, it’s a great album."

- - G.W. Hill, Music Steet Journal

"Wowie zowie !! If you like the music of Joe Zawinul and Weather Report, Allan Holdsworth, Pat Metheny or Mike Stern (to name a few fusion icons), you're in for a treat.

"This is great. Recommended listening!"

- United Mutations

"... a lot of sound and vision of the world of Fusion like you’ve never heard it before.

"An amazing journey that is spiritual, innovative, powerful, and magical from the moment you put the CD on, and it’s an exhilarating experience."

- Zachary Nathanson, Music From The Other Side of the Room

"If you are fond of jazz-rock-fusion of a lifetime, the kind that can go Steps Ahead with Mike Stern, going by Allan Holdsworth and around the Canterbury sound, then 'On a Mission' (Gudari Records / MoonJune Records) of The Avengers is the album of the year." (Translated)

- L.R., Distrito Jazz

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ARTIST PROFILE

The Avengers are a group of well-known and -respected progressive artists. Their collective resumes reads like a "who's who" list of modern jazz luminaries, encompassing a wide range of the modern jazz spectrum and boasting some of its most coveted contemporary artists.

For a more detailed examination of these four gentlemen's credentials, we invite you to please visit their respective individual websites. CLICK ON THEIR NAMES BELOW, to visit each artist's site:

BELEDO

ADAM HOLZMAN

LINCOLN GOINES

KIM PLAINFIELD

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