Sam Newsome performs solely on soprano saxophone with his debut for 'Palmetto Records' while continuing his affinity for integrating World rhythms, disparate modalities and endearing melodies into exotic frameworks for jazz-based motifs. Here, the artist views his second 'Global Unity' release as being somewhat of an expansion over his 1999 effort.
Essentially, Newsome's mindset, or approach might spur thoughts of Pat Metheny's 80's group or perhaps the 70's pairing of soprano sax great Wayne Shorter and Brazilian vocalist, Milton Nascimento. However, the saxophonist's multifaceted approach is framed around a series of Eastern, North African, Calypso, Brazilian, and Afro Cuban rhythms alongside Elisabeth Kontomanou's lyric less vocals, evidenced on such upbeat pieces as 'When You See the Light' and 'A Night In Indonesia.' Otherwise, Ugonna Okegwo's pumping bass lines and Satoshi Takeishi's subtly energetic yet nimbly executed percussion grooves provide the undertow for Newsome's mystical overtones and fluent thematic developments. Hence, melody is the key ingredient throughout this nicely produced and altogether articulately performed recording, as the music is apt to prod or stimulate your psyche.
Overall, Newsome's musical metaphors might remind us that self imposed cultural barriers have no place in music or life as the saxophonist and his top-notch accompanists cunningly drive that point home via a series of harmoniously performed and tremendously absorbing works. Recommended!
Track Listing: When You See The Light; A Night In Indonesia; An Afrasian Occasion; The Wedding March Of A Playboy; Into-Nation Of Islam; Bongo Betty; the Sucker?s Game; Dance Of The Deli Lama; Dread Man Walking; When You Hide From Me
Personnel: Sam Newsome; soprano sax: Elisabeth Kontomanou; voice: Marvin Sewell; guitars: Jean-Michel Pilc; piano: Ugonna Okegwo; bass: Satoshi Takeishi; Japanese percussion: Gilad; percussion: Guest Artists: Mel Baker; electric bass: Matt Balitsaris; mandola, 12 strong guitar: Jeff Berman; vibes, percussion: Adam Carey; steel pan, percussion: Kahil Kwame Bell; kalimba: Meg Okura; violin