MICHAEL LANDAU – Liquid Quartet Live (2020)
Guitarist extraordinaire MICHAEL LANDAU is one of the favorites of this blog. As LA Session player he has graced some of the greatest album from the 80s, 90s and beyond. Now with his own band, Landau has been released terrific material in recent time.
Appeared today, “Liquid Quartet Live” was recorded at the world-famous Baked Potato Club in Los Angeles last year with his Liquid Quartet line-up of drummer Abe Laboriel Jr (Steve Lukather, Eric Clapton), bassist Jimmy Johnson (Allan Holdsworth) and on guitar / vocals, David Frazee (Burning Water).
The set list features outings of some brand new songs (‘Well Let’s Just See,’ ‘Can’t Walk Away From It Now’) as well as some inspired renditions from his previous studio album ‘Rock Bottom’ and Renegade Creation, the band he formed with Robben Ford.
The band begins the set with a burning version of “Can’t Buy My Way Home”, commanded by Landau’s unique class. That guitar TONE… wow, you KNOW it’s him, no matter if it’s a simple riff or a concise solo.
Unheralded singer Frazee lent a noteworthy substance to the sound. He is particularly effective and spirited in the bluesy material. He reached inside for a lot of soul on “Greedy Life” and ” Can’t Walk Away From It Now”.
Talented veteran bassist Johnson has been a Landau band mate for many years. They have been part of James Taylor’s touring band for over 25 years. They have also, for the past few years, recorded and toured as part of the Steve Gadd Band. Him and versatile Abe Laboriel Jr collectively deliver a tight groove that Landau and Frazee used as a skyrocket platform.
Clearly the leader, the multi talented Landau brought his “A” game and smoked The Baked Potato. There is a reason why he has recorded and/or played with an impressive and lengthy list of artists over the past three decades plus.
Because he has done so much session work, Landau has a refinement and diversity in his craft. There are no wasted notes or chords.
Everything is played with depth, conviction, and intent.
Sometimes dotting with fusion, Landau blazed through Jimi Hendrix-esque rock and steamed through hard-edged blues that are reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughan.
His sophistication and skill set, however, bring about a sound and style that is uniquely his. His music is a remarkable combination of heart and passion.
On “Renegade Destruction” the band just explode, played with grit and vigor, while the show closed with “Dust Bowl,” an atmospheric bluesy number where every detail – and class – counts. The Michael Landau Liquid Quartet had now thoroughly cascaded the intimate sixty-seat venue.
Yes, this isn’t a regular live album, but more ‘live into the studio’.
Whatever, it’s formidable.
Awesome musicians, awesome stuff.
01 – Can’t Buy My Way Home (Live)
02 – Well Let’s Just See (Live)
03 – Greedy Life (Live)
04 – Killing Time (Live)
05 – Bad Friend (Live)
06 – Can’t Walk Away From It Now (Live)
07 – Renegade Destruction (Live)
08 – One Tear Away (Live)
09 – Tunnel 88 (Live)
10 – Dust Bowl (Live)
Michael Landau – guitar
Abe Laboriel Jr (Steve Lukather, Eric Clapton) – drums
Jimmy Johnson (Alan Holdsworth) – bass
David Frazee (Burning Water) – vocals, guitar