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Album Spotlight: Five Times Surprise

Avant guitarists Henry Kaiser and Anthony Pirog have formed a stunning ensemble that delivers a tonal siesta with a bonus 40-minute improv surprise ending.

Five Times Surprise

Five Times Surprise

When a band covers Mahavishnu Orchestra’s “You Know, You Know” and raises the ante…. Well, it’s stunning. And that adjective applies to the entire debut by this cutting-edge supergroup of guitarists Henry Kaiser and Anthony Pirog, bassist Andy West, 6-string electric violinist Tracy Silverman, and drummer Jeff Sipe.

It’s corny to say this 10-song set is full of surprises, but it’s a tonal fiesta—a free-wheeling blowing session that, in its mostly original compositions, taps the adventurous spirit of John McLaughlin’s pioneering band and other epic early ’70s fusion outfits, like Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew and Agharta lineups.

The interplay of Kaiser, Pirog, and Silverman is breathless and transcendent, right from the skull-peeling opener “Haboob.” More perspective: The bonus track is a 40-minute improvisation called “Twilight of the Space Gods.” Holy catfish!

Must-hear tracks: “Haboob,” “You Know You Know,” “Maneki Neko”