Kali Z. Fasteau is one extremely versatile musician. On Making Waves
she plays synthesizer, soprano sax, cello, drums, mizmar, and uses her voice (with electronics) as a pure instrument. On top of that, she recorded, edited and produced the CD. The recording quality is very good, allowing instruments to be placed clearly in space. Finally, she was kind enough to spend a lot of time with me via email in order to answer questions about her music.
Approaching Making Waves
is really all about labels and preconceptions, or rather, getting past them. "Jazz" as a term is very vague, but most people agree what is and isn't jazz, even if no single definition ever suffices. "Free jazz" (a label that Fasteau does not really like) is the most ethereal term, but also misleading since most of what falls into this category is not really free (which would be chaos) but ordered to principles different that those most expect from jazz or music in general: rhythm, melody and harmony. Perhaps even more confusing is that such obvious terms as beginning, end or development have to be understood differently. With these signposts gone, listening needs to be a different experience, and the emotional effect becomes more important.
Moving to the specific, everything about Making Waves
has a purpose. The cover is done in aquas and blues, and there are waves on it. The track titles all imply water images. But, as Fasteau told me, the "waves" of the title also refer to sound waves. Making sounds, making music is a spiritual endeavor for her, and she has a fully worked out theory of Yin and Yang in music, she calls "The Tao of Music" (see her website
for more details). What is clearly audible is the extent to which Fasteau (and the other musicians of course) are submerged in the moment, almost joining the Universal Vibration, listening and reacting to each other.
Composition means something different for Fasteau, because it is done in the moment. Some basic parameters might be discussed, such as the instrument/sound combinations and the specific mood, but the tracks were all recorded in one take; Fasteau then selects the ones that are to go on the disc, and the titles come last. This method is actually an (extreme) extension of the what happens in a group that has been playing together a long time and then wings it on stage, sometimes producing that magic moment.
Music is hard to describe in words anyway, and labels really fail with Fasteau's music. Yes, water images come to mind, especially on "Whalesong," where Kidd Jordan produces eerie whale calls from his sax. It might be better to say that the essence of water is evoked, if that makes any sense.
This is truly thrilling music, deeply felt, which made a deep impression on me.
Personnel: Kali Z. Fasteau - synthesizer, soprano sax, cello, drums, voice, mizmar, Kidd Jordan - tenor sax, Bobby
Few - piano, Sirone - contrabass.