Unlike some Tone Center offerings, which can be thinly masked excuses for a fusion-blowing workout, Cab 2 succeeds on both compositional and soloing levels. With drummer Dennis Chambers, organist Brian Auger, and bassist Bunny Brunel
(once of Chick Corea's '80s band), here joined by speed-king guitarist Tony MacAlpine
, the album revels in the Holdsworth - Elektric Band - Vital Information format, retaining high levels of spontaneity throughout.
The lineup is well balanced: Chambers is both incredibly funky and creative with his blazing drum romps, while Brunel is consummately lyrical and able to comment on Chambers's furious feet and finger explorations. Melodically, old-timer Auger
keeps his head down with lush R&B stabs of B3 organ riffage--the perfect complement to MacAlpine's often hyperbolic, dazzling fretboard mayhem. Mostly, the quartet keeps it high, hard, and fast, running the voodoo down over Brunel and MacAlpine tracks such as "Decisions," "Top Spin," and "Song for My Friend," which employ brisk odd-meters and (what else) serpentine melodies.
It's only when this fusion supergroup dwells on midtempo material ("Temperamental," "Sunday") that they run short on fuel, plodding where they should be pummeling, snoring on the job when fusion demands high-speed mental acuity.
For its pure soloing prowess, often bittersweet melodies, and boiling arrangements, Cab 2 goes all the way. --Ken Micallef
...Brunel, whose resume includes significant work with Chick Corea, is a resourceful bassist who has few qualms about stepping into the limelight....
...Time and again he darts into unexpected unison with MacAlpine, then back into his own funky bag. Brunel’s lowest notes seem rather murky and undefined, most likely a production flaw than an intended effect, but it doesn’t get in the way of the whole musical formula...
...MacAlpine holds fast to the front line with his fleet, incendiary guitar style, worlds removed from the head-banging ‘tude of his early work. He emerged as a promising young lion of "shred” at precisely the wrong time. The appeal of pyrotechnic guitar artistry was abruptly fading because of posturing punks who measured skill in notes per measure instead of musicianship...
...Chambers is one of the funkiest drummers of the modern era, capable of segueing from thrash to bebop to P-Funk in a heartbeat. His recent tenure in the steaming organ trio Niacin obviously served as a good preparation for the boiling cauldron of CAB. His fundamental rhythms are rather more basic in the long stretch than that of Steve Smith or Dave Weckl. But that’s a definite asset in a group this busy, and Chambers has numerous chances to stretch out and show his stuff... allaboutjazz.com