Peter Epstein/Brad Shepik/Matt Kilmer: Lingua Franca (2005)
Lingua Franca, by saxophonist Peter Epstein, guitarist Brad Shepik, and percussionist Matt Kilmer, is an excellent example of the incorporation of exotic styles. The odd configurationreed, guitar, drumsin and of itself makes for an unusual sound, and the three musicians bring in a bunch of world music influences, creating a sort of folk song underpinning to reggae ("Sunrise"), blues ("Miro"), and Celtic ("Emerald"), along with an unidentifiable amalgam of Eastern and Eastern European modes.
The disc opens with "Two Door," which has a lively high-octane feeling, with Matt Kilmer using a kanjira (a small Indian folk drum) behind an insistent cruise control momentum of alternating guitar/sax solos. "Miro" brings in a bluesy tint, Shepik exotically soulful; Kilmer wields a frame drum with a brush in one hand, adding an odd yet intriguing bump and shuffle backdrop.
Percussion seems the area of music-making most wide open to creativity, and Matt Kilmer's makes fascinating contributions throughout the set on a variety of frame drums: djembe, ocean drum, kanjira. On "Emerald," one large frame drum with a deep, hollow resonance elevates the song's Celtic mysticism, while the percussionist's hadgini, a type of Udu drum, adds a succinct yet subtle punctuation behind the amorphous, drifting melody on "Improvisation I."
Recorded mostly live with no overdubs, Lingua Franca has a very organic, spontaneous feeling, sometimes lively, sometimes meditative, always entrancing. One of the most interesting discs of the year.
Visit Peter Epstein, Brad Shepik, and Matt Kilmer on the web.
Track Listing: Two Door; Miro; Emrald; Temoin; Here and There; Monsaraz; Kumanovo; Sunrise; Meditation; Bonus track: Improvisation I.
Personnel: Peter Epstein: alto and soprano saxophone; Brad Shepik: guitars; Matt Kilmer: percussion.
Record Label: Songlines Recordings
Style: Modern Jazz