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Recorded in France in 1988 and released in the U.S. in 1995, Colonel Skopje is a good example of what could be described as "post-bop with fusion references." This CD isn't full-fledged fusion; it isn't as consistently rock-influenced and funk-minded as -- just to give two 1980s examples -- Miles Davis' Tutu or Scott Henderson's Dr. Hee. But at the same time, French bassist Henri Texier isn't one of those dogmatic purists who insists on staying away from all things electric. While Texier sticks to the upright bass, the quintet that he leads on this album includes Steve Swallow on electric bass and John Abercrombie on electric guitar; rounding out the lineup are saxophone explorer Joe Lovano (who is also heard on flute) and Italian drummer Aldo Romano. Abercrombie is highly regarded in fusion circles, and he certainly hasn't escaped the influence of rock and funk. With this interesting mix of electric and acoustic instruments, the part European, part American quintet avoids standards and emphasizes new material. Some of it is quite cerebral, especially two abstract pieces that Lovano contributed, "P.M." and "In the Land of Ephesus." But a more lyrical approach prevails on Romano's airy "Night Diary," which wouldn't be out of place on a Pat Metheny or Leni Stern disc. Meanwhile, Texier's mysterious title song is slightly Asian influenced and isn't unlike something that pianist/keyboardist Joe Zawinul would have written for the fusion powerhouse Weather Report in the 1970s or 1980s. Colonel Skopje falls short of superb, but it's a decent effort that is worth hearing if you like your post-bop with a touch of fusion.