Hectic Watermelon with Jerry Goodman | The Great American Road Trip

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The Great American Road Trip

by Hectic Watermelon with Jerry Goodman

Featuring Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra, Dixie Dregs), a fiery Post-Zappa tour de force full of savage grooves, contrapuntal integrity and impeccable ensemble playing.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz-Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Sacred Watershed
Hectic Watermelon
3:53 $0.99
2. The Third Derivative of James Brown
Hectic Watermelon
5:12 $0.99
3. Bionic Hillbilly
Hectic Watermelon
5:45 $0.99
4. F Street Fulano
Hectic Watermelon
5:10 $0.99
5. Dreams of Concrete Jungles
Hectic Watermelon
2:08 $0.99
6. Subterranean Rapid Transit
Hectic Watermelon
5:51 $0.99
7. Layover in Hamemet
Hectic Watermelon
2:00 $0.99
8. Stray Dogs Messaging Project
Hectic Watermelon
2:05 $0.99
9. Steve's Stunt Double
Hectic Watermelon
4:02 $0.99
10. Twenty-first Century Visigoth
Hectic Watermelon
4:21 $0.99
11. Bullets, Dice and 30 Megabytes
Hectic Watermelon
6:24 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Hectic Watermelon is a fiery new "Post-Zappa Commando-Fusion” band from San Diego-Los Angeles led by John Czajkowski on guitars, with Darren DeBree on drums and Harley Magsino on bass. The legendary fusion pioneer, Jerry Goodman, joins the young lineup on electric violin on 9 of the 11 tracks on the highly critically acclaimed debut album, The Great American Road Trip. The album has already topped the UK Jazzwise alternative jazz charts at number one. Receiving international radio airplay, the album has been listed in the top 50 progressive rock albums on the East Coast Gagliarchives radio shows and received kudos in the All Music Guide and many other print and online media outlets.

"Czajkowski tours the American landscape by orchestrating a tour of the music that grows there. He’s a monster guitarist with a metal carapace and a creamy jazz center, sprouting hydra heads of classical picking..."
- Scott Johnson

“A very enjoyable album – Highly recommended!!!”
- Alex Machacek

“Every so often, an album like Hectic Watermelon’s The Great American Road Trip comes along to give me hope that jazz-rock fusion hasn’t collapsed like a poorly-made soufflé under the weight of its own clichés. The relentless energy, shape-shifting changes and bounding asymmetrical rhythms of tunes extend and elaborate upon the groundbreaking work of artists like John McLaughlin, Frank Zappa, and Jeff Beck.”
- Dave Wayne Jazz Review

A tour de force, The Great American Road Trip showcases John Czajkowski’s dazzling fretwork, contrapuntal ingenuity and impeccable ensemble playing with bassist Harley Magsino and drummer Darren Debree and former Mahavishnu violinist Goodman...a virtuoso fusion band…a fleet-fingered guitarist and composer…intricate compositions (that) blend elements of fusion jazz, prog-rock, funk and contemporary classical."
- George Varga San Diego Union-Tribune

“John McLaughlin’s influence is felt throughout the album, but Frank Zappa is also quite present—not in Czajkowski’s guitar playing, but in his witty writing and sense of humor. Both entertaining and technically impressive, The Great American Road Trip has enough jazz to titillate fusion fans, enough complexity to please the progressively inclined, but most of all, it has its own endearing personality. Highly recommended!”
- François Couture All Music Guide

“Throughout each of the songs on this masterful set, the playing is tight, complex and eclectic. Anybody who is missing the days when Jeff Beck’s Blow by Blow or The Mahavishnu Orchestra’s Birds of Fire ruled the world will have found a friend in this high-energy recording.”
- George Harris All About Jazz

“The ghost of Zappa wanders around, while other ideas can be traced back to the pure sounds of Eric Johnson, the intriguing syncopation of Scott Henderson, the Eastern senses of John McLauglin, Allan Holdsworth’s unpredictability and especially the breathtaking versatility of Steve Morse and the Dixie Dregs. Goodman’s sweeping playing beautifully manifests itself constantly, This excellently produced, modern progressive jazz-rock trip stimulates the musical joy of traveling.”
- René Yedema iO Pages Magazine, Netherlands

"With so much competition in the marketplace, musicians can find it difficult to make an original musical statement that separates them from the pack. Not everyone will be a true innovator. But there are musician’s who take their influences, add healthy doses of their own unique talent, and manage to push the musical envelope with their creativity. The music on The Great American Road Trip by Hectic Watermelon is a very good example of that process."
- Rod Sibley Abstract Logix Featured Review



to write a review

Barry / NES

This isn't modern rock radio!
The album manages to be relaxing, explosive, and hum-worthy all rolled into one. Every composition leaves you with something, whether it is a soulful smile, an energetic ride of complexity, or a perplexed look of wonder. I have found all of these within this volume of music. The atmosphere overflows and changes, tugging at your heart, and then at your funny bone. This is a brilliant debut, just make sure not to swallow the seeds!

Francesco D'Angelo

Modern fusion success
From the opening numbers atmospheric meanderings into the adrenalin rush, full steam throttle of a pure jazz rock fusion locomotive,heading down the dangerous twisting mountain tracks with no brakes!Its all here.Energy,man,energy,it abounds here!
Complex arrangements, incendiary,stellar guitar and violin runs,solid,tight ensemble playing,right angle changes that will leave a crick in your musical neck.
John Czajkowski is a scene stealing guitarist,with tone and chops galore that will satisfy any fan of this genre.
Inspired by Mahavishnu and the Dregs,but with a unique and original style very much their own,The Great American Road Trip by Hectic Watermelon is one adventure not to be missed!


A thrilling blend of atmospheric guitar-jazz, heavy-metal-funk, and just some beautiful insanity ..... a little bit like getting Metheny, Holdsworth and IA Eklundh toghether ...... i guess .


A Home Run Debut
John and crew really set fire to what I have come to know of the instrumental guitar based genre. This Record is SO much more than a barrage of licks and virtuosity that most players of this idiom get caught up in... it is a deep offering with real musical substance and well thought out arrangements that leave you wanting more. There is also a dry sense of humor that underscores the entire CD. This is really nice as you get that these guys (who can really play with the best of them) don't take themselves too seriously.... how refreshing!

As far as the guitar work.... John is one of those rare players that can keep you interested for the duration…. He has wonderful phrasing, killer vibrato, tone that fits like a glove and oh yeah real control of the instrument. He is heading out on his own – and yep – he has found a sound that belongs to him alone. What a rarity these days with a million and one guitar player clones out there stuck trying to be someone else.

Regarding the tunes…. My favs are F Street Fulano / Third Derivative of James Brown and Sacred Watershed…. But the whole record is a well thought out collection of tunes that have great production (Love the delays, use of space and sound effects) / great performances / and great composition.

Do yourself a favor and give this a spin you will be very glad you did.


Hectic Watermelon
This CD rocks like a vegan in a meat locker.
I would have given it 5 stars if there had been some more Gerry Goodman, but I am a renound barstard and very difficult to get on with.
Thine, Lendrix

Rod Sibley

unique talent pushing the musical envelope with their creativity!
With so much competition in the marketplace, musicians can find it difficult to make an original musical statement that separates them from the pack. I mean, how often have you described someone’s playing by saying “He sounds a little (or a lot) like…”? Not everyone will be a true innovator. But there are musician’s who take their influences, add healthy doses of their own unique talent, and manage to push the musical envelope with their creativity. The music on The Great American Road Trip by Hectic Watermelon is a very good example of that process.

As the title hints at, the CD is about travel. The songs of guitarist John Czajkowski vividly capture the feeling of being on the road. The band is tight and handles the different styles and gear shifts of the pieces with ease. I got acquainted with this CD during my daily commute. I often caught myself doing at least 10 over the speed limit; focusing on the music rather than the gas pedal. The music became a soundtrack to my highway drive.

But scrutiny with headphones is where these tracks reveal themselves. Czajkowski’s layered guitars, sonic effects, and production not only give the sensation of taking you somewhere, they allow your mind’s eye to actually visualize the journey. The various guitar tones have a lot of contrast within the songs, and are some of the best I’ve heard in awhile. The highly distorted and scooped guitar tone is grungy and nasty; just the way I like it – and just the way it should be.

Listed as a special guest, violin virtuoso Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra, The Dregs) plays on 9 of the 11 tracks. These pieces offer a chance to hear him play some great unison lines with Czajkowski, and to showcase some of that patented “Goodman Grit” during his solos.

Some disc highlights:

Sacred Watershed: brightly chimed chords with a slight delayed reverb start the aural trip. A distorted guitar playing some wicked licks is panned swirling in and out of the mix as the layered guitars conjure images of riding through the heartland.

The Third Derivative of James Brown: take a monster rock riff, add some old-school fusion, and just a dash of hip-hop and you are haulin’ some serious ass on the highway.

Subterranean Rapid Transit: another monster riff with band sounding like a Prog-band on steroids. You’re still on the highway, but you’re on a Hawg.

Steve’s Stunt Double: as in “Steve Morse”. If you’re jonesin’ for some new Dregs material, this might do.

Twenty-first Century Visigoth: At first I thought the band was about to commit the Cardinal Sin of ruining a great instrumental CD with vocals. But with the vocals done with a sense of humor and a nod toward the Indian scatting of John McLaughlin’s Shakti; combined with a stonkin' riff, stacked guitars, and the rhythm section flexing some muscle…all was forgiven.

Check out The Great American Road Trip. The music sounds a lot like…Hectic Watermelon.


The Dregs' virtuosity, Return to Forever's class, and Zappa's Humor
Quoted from MJBrady on Proggnosis: I absolutely love when an obscure band comes seemingly out from nowhere to kick my behind. And though California is somewhere, this band has done just that. Coming at you with a high tech, ultra dense progressive fusion attack, this Navy SEAL led band has all the talent and imagination to stifle the minds of the hardest core fusion heads anywhere. And they don't just appeal to that genre, this music has such a unique sound and the players are outrageously gifted, that progressive rock fans that have a flair for instrumental adventure will find more than enough to appeal to their senses.

Hectic Watermelon is able to draw from a wide array of influences coming mostly from the fusion side of things, but with enough Zappa-esque flair to keep the music bumpy and non-repetitive. Each song is a flavor of it's own, showing the innovations of Mahavishnu, the virtuosity of The Dregs, the class of Return to Forever, and the humor and daring of Zappa more challenging instrumental compositions. While this may seem an exaggeration of sorts, trust me when I emphasize that the musicians in this band are equal to the task in every way. They have enlisted some outside players to assist on various songs, even Dregs/ex-Vishnu violinist - Jerry Goodman.

I have heard a LOT of fusion and progfusion stuff, and this is as good as it gets for this small subgenre, the members of this band feed on all of your aural imagery through the clever constructions of this music, while they are all impressive soloists in their own right, what they are doing as musical inventors is where they make their mark, as this cd will impress you not only at the first passing, but each successive listen will continue to challenge and awaken your attention to the details of their unique brand of music.

So, In hearing this band for the first time, I was floored, so much so, that I was convinced that musicians this seasoned have been doing a lot of things with a lot of artists, but this seemingly is not so. So add them to a new generation of important prog/fusion bands that need to be heard to convince you. Along with Helmet of Gnats, Bad Dog U, Kick the Cat, there is another wild breed of music on the front, one that will appeal to those that long for the days of yore, and don't mind musicians that are forward thinking, while paying homage to the roots of the genre itself. Excellent recording, top recommendation!

All About Jazz (Nov 2006 LA, SF Bay Area and Clevelend) Print Ed

Jerry Goodman's electrifying violin creates sparks with John Czajkowski’s guitar
Quoted from the Gerge Harris Review in All About Jazz: Power trio Hectic Watermelon’s (John Czajkowski, Darren DeBree, Harley Magsino, plus special guest, Jerry Goodman) latest release, The Great American Road Trip, is a slice of progressive rock/jazz that will whet the appetite of any fan of the Mahavishnu Orchestra or King Crimson. Adding to the equation is the addition of Mahavishnu Orchestra alumnus, violinist Jerry Goodman, who is still crazy after all these years. His electrifying violin work creates quite a number of sparks with John Czajkowski’s hard driving guitar. On “Bionic Hillbilly,” the violin and guitar themed melody is multi-layered and bluesy over Darren DeBree’s hard rocking and aggressive drum work. The playing is complex and highly intricate, mixing heavy metal guitar tuplets and progressive chord progressions. “Twenty-first Century Visigoth” is a clever mix of ‘70s metal with modern attitude, reminiscent of vintage King Crimson. “F Street Fulano” delivers a clever use of chord progressions, mixed with Goodman’s maniacal violin dancing over the frenetic bass and drum work. “Steve’s Stunt Double” features some absolutely astonishing guitar work by Czakowski. I can’t wait to get the transcription of this one! “The Third Derivative of James Brown” combines frenetic fretwork with Goodman’s high-octane violin, mixed with clever usage of voice sampling. Throughout each of the songs on this masterful set, the playing is tight, complex and eclectic. Anybody who is missing the days when Jeff Beck’s Blow by Blow or The Mahavishnu Orchestra’s Birds of Fire ruled the world will have found a friend in this high-energy recording.


Excellent Modern Fusion
I hear many different things on this album that remind me of other instrumental music I've enjoyed over the last 30 years. This brings it all current in its own way. Tremendous playing and arranging. I expect this to be one of those albums that I'll continually pull out over the next 30 years and enjoy all over again. Thanks guys...look forward to the next project.