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Joel Hoekstra


I'd love to live in Joel Hoekstra's head for a day. In addition to being an excellent musician, this guitarist is a superb writer and arranger, with a knack for producing very fresh-sounding, groove-oriented progressive music.

Stylistically, part of the fusion equation here tends toward the head-trip school of electric Herbie Hancock, Funkadelic, and Frank Zappa: lots of squiggly, nasty lines that want to burrow around your ears, with a view toward penetrating your brain.

The other part is an attention to sound and texture, that should appeal immensely to prog heads. "Gorilla Man 2000" could pass for current King Crimson, while "Afghanistan Blues" atmospherically evokes a Steve Hackett/David Sylvian collaboration.

The basic band is a trio, with drummer Virgil Donati, and bassist Ric Fierabracci both solid, tasteful players. Keyboards are a big part of the sound, and Chris Grove, Doug Ackman, and Jay Cappo contribute very distinctive work on their respective tracks. Great sonics, too, and a big thumbs up for this jasper.

-Larry Nai, Progression

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