Max Beesley’s High Vibes Comes Back With Debut Album Zeus


Max Beesley’s High Vibes released a handful of fab singles during the Acid Jazz era of the ’90s. “Night Daze,” “Fast Response,” “Journey Through Life,” and the indelible “Painful Truths” featuring Omar were some of the paramount moments of the jazz-funk fusion revival taking place in the UK. Beesley, who is mainly known as an actor, is also a musician and today his group releases their first full-length album titled Zeus. The band boasts a company of stellar session players, including Steve Gadd who played with Beesley on George Benson’s That’s Right album from the ’90s, as well as his good friend Steve Meehan who is the bass player. They still represent the Acid Jazz sound that was pioneered by people like Roy Ayers and Herbie Hancock in the ’70s.

Zeus is a musically competent instrumental voyage that thrives in its balance between jazz-chorded solos and funky riffs. “Saturn’s Dust” honors the sixth planet from the sun with the coolness of a new blaxploitation soundtrack; there are bits of Curtis Mayfield and Isaac Hayes in the meandering soul sketches. “Juice” promotes dancing with its busy beat but things really start to harken back to the days of Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul’s Weather Report band when the guitar starts to solo. The playing on Zeus is excellent and one can only wonder how would the album have sounded with the addition of a vocalist. Beesley’s Zeus is a love letter to the fusion era and another testament to the genre’s continuous inspiration.