Thunder review by SMV

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  • Released: Aug 12, 2008
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.7 (10 votes)
SMV: Thunder

Sound — 10
The collaboration between Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten was originally conceived by Wooten, and after playing Clarke's "School Days" at a bass award ceremony, they seriously considered the idea of working together. The result was this 2008 jazz CD, Thunder. The first thing that struck me as I listened to this was the incredibly impressive production, done by Marcus Miller. Each bassist and their bass has their distinctive sounds and styles expressed clearly throughout each song without becoming cluttering or crowded. This also means that you can hear all other instruments with crystal clarity too, adding to the listening experience. Each bassist manages to support the others, usually with one taking the bottom while the other two do nice solos over the top. The artists utilise a variety of instruments to create a very diverse album. Apart from the bass guitars, there is also a trumpet, mini-moog, Clarke's upright bass, Miller's bass clarinet and synths, and the beatboxing talent of Butterscotch. I would say all the tracks on this album stand out by themselves, but the main notable highlight are the title track "Thunder" where the bassists get their little introductions and kick ass with solos throughout. It really isn't fair to the rest of the CD to call Thunder a notable highlight, though, since each track is stunning.

Lyrics — 10
There's no singing throughout the CD except perhaps the introduction of each bassist in the title track Thunder, and some humming in Pendulum. These are done by female beatboxer Butterscotch. I'm not familiar with her work since I'm not American, but she blends in very nicely with the music and helps to reinforce it. Her beatboxing skills are commendable, and she also supplies the "vocal trumpet". I'm not sure what that's meant to be, but the fact that I can't pick it out of the song demonstrates how seamlessly it's applied.

Overall Impression — 10
I honestly didn't have anything I didn't like about this album, from start to finish. In fact, I didn't think I would do it justice if I didn't rip the CD onto my laptop with lossless quality. So now the one album takes up 632mb of my music collection, and don't worry, I applied copy protection. Another significant thing to note is that it's evident that a lot of effort and detail was even put into the physical CD, its case and contents too. The CD is a great black design, with the bassists' names subtly embossed on the top surface to give it a quality look. The insert folds out to show the details of the CD (including thanks, credits, and song details e.g. composer, instruments), and the back side is a larger picture of Clarke, Miller and Wooten. The high quality production of even the case contents rounds off a great CD with a great appearance. This is a thoroughly enjoyable CD to listen to, and there are definitely no regrets about it. If this CD was somehow lost, stolen or damaged I would definitely purchase it again for want of a hard copy.

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