Jimmy Chamberlin Complex

MAKE Records, 2020


REVIEW BY: Ludwik Wodka


For a long time, drummer Jimmy Chamberlin was the secret weapon of the Smashing Pumpkins, providing a perfect foil for Billy Corgan’s guitar. If you don’t know what I mean, go back and check out the drums on “Geek U.S.A.” and “Jellybelly.” But the word is out and he is now widely regarded as one of the best drummers in the business.  my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Since 2005, Chamberlin has been recording with a side project called the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex. This year’s album, Honor, is the third release from this outfit. Bassist Billy Mohler and guitarist Sean Wollstenhulme have returned to support this effort along with guest musicians Frank Catalano, Adam Benjamin, Ben Wendell and Shane Endsley.

The five songs that comprise the album consist primarily of rather simple but ethereal melodies which wisely showcase Chamberlain’s impressive and complex work on the drums. Rather than being something like Smashing Pumpkins or Zwan, Chamberlin explores fusion jazz on these albums, showing strong influences from albums like Miles Davis’ In a Silent Way or the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s Birds of Fire. Chamberlin’s decades of experience in a rock band show through and make this “fusion” a more even balance of rock and jazz, instead of jazz adopting a couple of rock elements (electric guitars with distortion), particularly on the second half of “Service,” with its driving rock riff.

For fans of the Smashing Pumpkins, this album, like its predecessors, offers a glimpse of Jimmy Chamberlin in his natural habitat. Jazz fusion is not for everyone, but if you do appreciate this style of music, the songs are very good and performances are excellent. It gets better each time you hear it and justifies itself.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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