Last week, that literary genius HearSay talked about the dearth of jazz fusion in the Fort. One possible explanation: Maybe fusion requires too much rehearsal time, too much wherewithal to do properly, and in our age of Facebooking and hunting for big returns on little investments, the average muso just dudn’t have the time. There is the annual Bertha Coolidge gig. But in between, when drummer Rich Stitzel is teaching jazz back home in Chicago and bassist Aden Bubeck is out on tour with country superstar Miranda Lambert, all that a local fusion fan can do is queue up Aurora’s eponymous CD, culled from material recorded in 1977 and released several years ago by Shroom Productions, a Houston-based indie label specializing in unearthing and re-releasing long-forgotten material of mainly the fusion and prog-rock varieties. Aurora was Dallas-based but fronted by a native Fort Worthian, Jean-Luc Ponty-esque violinist Mark Menikos, who would go on to front one of North Texas’ longest-standing trad-Celt groups, Brothers 3. Aurora broke up almost as quickly as it formed –– the reasons are myriad and typical. Too bad. As a fan of Ponty’s best-known band, Mahavishnu Orchestra, I have to say that Aurora (named after a Ponty solo album, natch) could have done some great things. Listen for yourself.
The disc is available for sale for a measly dirty Hamilton here on Shroom’s web site. (Scroll down a little.) To anyone with even a passing interest in fusion, I highly recommend Aurora.