Sonic Diversity


Keyboardist Tom Coster was a mainstay of some of the biggest bands of the jazz/rock fusion era of the '70s. His playing, writing and producing, as well as an embrace of new technologies, helped mold the sounds of Gabor Szabo, Billy Cobham and Santana. In the early-'80s he began recording as a leader. His second release, Ivory Expedition (Fantasy), is now available in Concord's Digital Only section, with additional cuts from his first album, T.C.

Backed by guitarist Joaquin Lievano, Journey drummer Steve Smith, Walter Afanasieff on supporting keys and a pre-"Dawg" Randy Jackson on bass, the 18 tracks are polished to a sharp edge, with all the intensity and dynamism that were hallmarks of the style. Coster's interest in different keyboard sounds adds sonic diversity to his recordings.

Beside Rhodes, acoustic and string patches, he uses the Moog Liberation strap-on synth (featured with him on the album cover) as a lead, giving guitarist Lievano a run for his money on solos. Along with the tech wizardry, Coster shows on "Can't You Stand It" that he has the chops to play an acoustic solo that rivals the best of fusion-era Chick Corea.