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Music from India, Spain, Italy, Tunisia and Other International Beats

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Turner calls his highly individualized style 'Afromeo,' a mixture of all musics - boy, does he ever mean ALL musics - from Spain, Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas.
If your ears grow bigger to accommodate more and more of the world's different musical styles and sounds, does the global village seem to grow smaller?

Gecko Turner
Guapapasea!
Quango
2006

Maybe it's because I grew up around Philadelphia through the 1970s, but I always remember soul music around - soul music light enough to dance like a butterfly on a breeze yet knee-deep enough in the funk that one could dive in and swim. Its charm was easy to recognize and feel, but hard to describe and define.

Gecko Turner's Guapapasea! feels like one of those great breezy soul records. It comes from Spain via his nimble twelve-piece Afrobeatnik Orchestra, which features some of the world's best Afro-Cuban and Brazilian instrumentalists, including percussionist Ruben Dantas (Paco de Lucia, Chick Corea), trumpeter Irapoam Freire, drummer Emilio Valdés (Chucho Valdés), and other instrumental aces from the US, Africa and Spain.

Turner calls his highly individualized style "Afromeño, a mixture of all musics - boy, does he ever mean ALL musics - from Spain, Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas. These cover versions of "Rainbow Country (Bob Marley), and the acoustic lounge-reggae-trip-hop cover of "Subterranean Homesick Blues (Bob Dylan) rendered in Spanish, seem to invite you to wade in these waters.

Because after you grow comfortable enough to dive into "Afromeño, the genuinely inspired lunacy begins. Turner proves quite the tasty instrumentalist on guitars, drums, and programming, and growls and purrs and meows through his lead vocals like a tomcat on a funky midnight prowl. "How Come You Do Me Like You Do Me? (Big Bang Romeo) and "Sabes Quién te Quiere? swing softly on deft rhythms, percussion and guitars, while Latin piano and rhythms rock "Monka Mongas. Lastly, its slinky rhythm and feline melody and vocal make the set-ending "45,000$ (Guapa Pasea) almost impossible to resist.

Guapapasea! will make you smile and dance and shake ya groove thang, yeah yeah. Even if not high art, it certainly delivers high times.

Bombay Dub Orchestra
Bombay Dub Orchestra
Six Degrees
2006

A dream deferred is not always a dream denied.

In the late 1990s, the UK-based team of composer / arranger / pianist Andrew T. Mackay and producer Garry Hughes (Art of Noise, Sly & Robbie, and the particularly pertinent Pink Floyd Orchestral Project) traveled to India to record Bombay's top session players for a project by Spellbound, a duo from India based in London. "I produced and Andrew arranged, Hughes recalls. "It was a fantastic experience recording these guys, and on the plane coming home we thought how great it would be to make an orchestral chill-out record with these players. In 2005, the duo returned to Bombay to spend their days recording a 28-piece string section (violins, violas and cellos) and their nights recording expert players of classical Indian instruments (bansuri, sarangi, tabla and sitar) and traditional Indian vocalists.

Bombay Dub Orchestra is the "orchestra chill-out record constructed from these recordings. It honors the essential contemplative nature of its source material - Indian classical music - and sparkles with unusual and exquisite beauty. The subtle electronics, pulses and beats, underneath such tunes as "Compassion complement its Indian components, not overpower them.

Solitary violin steps out of the mist overlying "Rare Earth like a solitary eagle's majestic, solitary flight; the soaring North African vocals from Khalid Kharchaf featured in "The Berber of Seville conjures the same mythical, mystical imagery. "To the Shore traverses a melody that is simply, sadly, ethereally beautiful. Though the spotlight mainly (and properly) shines on the Indian instrumentalists, Mackay merits mention as a Harold Budd-like impressionistic pianist on "Sonata and "Remembrance, a two-minute instrumental prayer pregnant with the beauty of becoming that closes the CD.

Okay, that's the "Bombay Orchestra part. The "Dub part comes from the package's second CD, remixes of eight these twelve tracks rendered in dub style, several featuring more exotic names and equally exotic musical visions, such as "The Berber of Seville Orchestral Version: Father Mackay's Celestial Vision, "Rare Earth: The Forest of Thieves Mix and "Dust: The Pigment of Your Imagination Mix.

A dream deferred is not always a dream denied.

Gianluca Petrella
Indigo4
Blue Note
2006

This early favorite among "Best 2006 Debut contenders comes from a young Italian composer and trombone player who says, "I always appreciated the vanguards in our musical world, especially the American one at the end of the '60s and for a lot of the '70s. Important influences include Ornette Coleman, the Sun Ra visionary world, the trombone played in an unconventional way like with Roswell Rudd, the improvised European music, and the more radical and catchy electronics that involve acoustic instruments, too.


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