DOWNBEAT by Robin Tolfeson
"SPIRIT OF LIGHT is the first release by the group AXIOM and features the strong guitar work of Peter Templer throughout. He propels tunes with choppy funky riffs, blows into overdrive for blues-rock assaults, and Leads odd time melody lines around vocalist Arnold McCuller on "ALL AROUND YOU'. Saxman Bryan McCann and bassist Morrow Fleet are solid throughout, and drummer Phil Templer makes a lot of different grooves work."
Review of the AXIOM's new Release, STARBURST from noted Jazz and music writer Jonathon Widran
August 17, 2020,
Starburst? What’s that, you say? Exotic and eclectic, high octane jazz fusion Axiom named their first album in over a decade after fruit chews? OK, so the colorful album cover lets us know that brothers Pete (guitars) and Phil Templer (drums/percussion) and their explosive all-star ensemble have more celestial ideas in mind.
To that end, the rocking and freewheeling opener “Vaporware” (a favorite opener at their live shows) soars mightily to high heaven and easily flowing tunes like the moody, pop/gospel tinged title track ballad start as meditations before taking off on some George Dukesque spacy synth runs. But the candy metaphor works just as well, not only because the duo’s melodies (even on the more bustling productions) linger like the tanginess of the chew, but because of the many wild, often exotic textural colors (and rhythms) they introduce along the way.
So while “Vaporware” is an in your face electric guitarist’s dream, the hypnotic Afro-jazz waltz “Indigo Wave,” is pure offbeat soul seduction with a fascinating synth solo by Jared Stewart of Shadowfax. Expanding on that into a more mainstream Latin flow, the sensual “Magunda” soars with flute and a synth generated sitar effect.
For all those engaging charms, perhaps the most compelling part of the sonic surprise filled nine track collection is The California Suite, a stunning, rhythmically varied four song movement that celebrates nature and its ebb and flow between wild fury and gentle peace.
Putting a unique flow melody and groove front and center The Templers take us from the spirited majesty of ‘Kings Canyon” and a passionate, sax driven “Mountain Dream” (sax courtesy of Frank Villafranca) to a fiery sax and guitar driven “West Coast Encounter” and a lyrical drive through endless, sweeping “Deserts.”
MUSIC CONNECTION.- by Scott Yanow "I had the pleasure of seeing the up-and-coming electronic jazz group AXIOM at Sasch's in the Valley, a rock club that features fusion groups on Sunday nights. Led by brothers drummer Phil and guitarist Peter Templer, AXIOM features strong originals, funky grooves and excellent solos from its leaders, the tenor sax of Alan Palmer, keyboardistDavid Hayes and the funky electric bassist Ellwood Bowen, who can be quite humorous. AXIOM looks like it has a strong future."
JAZZ TIMES: by Chuck Berg "AXIOM is a dynamite little fusion band that will knock your socks off. Composed of guitarist Peter Templer, drummer Phil Templer, saxman Bryan McCann, and electric bassist Morrow Fleet. The quartet is augmented in its dashing debut, SPIRIT OF LIGHT (Cexton CR527) by pianists David Benoit and tyrone Bowers, percussionist Richard Cantu, and a quintet off fine vocalists. "-STREET TALK' is a sassy strut with salty work from Templer's guitar, McCann's sax and Benoit's piano. Also noteworthy is Fleet's exuberant slap and solo bass – the groove is great! In contrast is the ballad "KNOWING THAT I HAVE YOU" where singer Raj Seneveratne croons with sensual brio. In all, AXIOM is a solid outfit with lots of commercial potential in the contemporary marketplace."
Those who love the classic sound of Return To Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra and early Weather Report will find much to enjoy on Axiom'sStarburst, which is available from www.axiommusic.net.
Midwest Records review of 8/24/20
by Chris Spector
AXIOM/Starburst: When you've been at it for a long enough time, you can either come in with competent sonombulance or effortless badassery. Back in the groove after a decade away, Axiom got the effortless and the badassery down to a science. A smoking fusion date that isn't stuck in the past but isn't precious under the guise of being forward thinking, it's loaded with the right sound at the right time, particularly when adults need some new sounds for the summer that wasn't. Take that consultants, this is what the future of fusion should have been. Hot stuff.
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REVIEW from Goldmine Music Collectors Magazine
Mike Greenblatt Nov 11, 2020
Brothers Phil (drums) and Pete (guitar) Templar have resurrected Axiom, their long-dormant jazz-rock fusion band, for the release of the terrific Starburst (Extrasensory Records), their self-produced, all-original gem with a cast of nine. Leaning towards instrumental Progressive Rock, it still contains enough Latin and Funk to flesh out what the brothers call “Contemporary Jazz Fusion.” Opening with “Vaporware,” a solid romp of prog, continuing with “Indigo Wave,” sounding like an Afro-Cuban Waltz, and “Magunda,” complete with Santana flourishes. Although most of the attention will probably focus on the four-track “California Suite,” which goes through such a myriad of changes, you’ll need a scorecard to keep up with the action, the highlight has to be the title track, a zippy little slice of deliciousness. Bravo!
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JAZZ WEEKLY REVIEW
by George W. Harris • November 12, 2020
Peter and Phil Templer form the core of the team Axiom, playing guitars and drums respectively along with keyboardist Jared Stewart, a sax-woodwind team of Alan Palmer/Frank Villafranca and rotating bassists Bill Owen, Hussein Jiffry, Brian Mastaslsky and Keith Hubacher.
The music is what used to be called “Contemporary Adult Instrumental”, ranging between sophisticated swinging rock and accessible jazz, sort of like a jamming Chris Cross or James Taylor backup band. The team delivers some cool Caribbean tones on the cheerful “Magunda” and sound Weather Reportish on the echoey “Starburst”, propelled by some nice grooves by Owen and Phil Templer. A four-part “California Suite” rocks out on “Kings Canyon” synthy spaciousness of “Deserts” with the team showing its funky side on the album closer “Cruising Altitude”. An overlooked genre that gets revisited with style.
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By: Scott Yanow for L.A. Jazz Scene Oct 7, 2020
It has been over a decade since Axiom, a top-notch fusion quintet
co-led by guitarist Peter Templer and drummer Phil Templer, had recorded.
Starburst continues in their earlier direction of creative 1970s/80s-style
The brothers are joined by either Alan Palmer or Frank Villafranca
on reeds, keyboardist Jared Stewart, and one of four bassists. The
ensemble-oriented performances have a rockish sound, feature strong
musicianship, and contain catchy melodies and grooves along with inventive solos. "Vaporware" puts the focus on the passionate guitarist, Villafranca's soprano on "Indigo Wave" and Palmer's flute on "Magunda" are noteworthy,"Mountain Dream" (part of a four-part "California Suite") is high-quality easy-listening music, and "Starburst" is the most ambitious and exciting performance.