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From the Inside Out

Missives from Distant Fronts

By Published: May 25, 2012
It's no wonder that Pine wondered: You don't hear too many organ trios like Rollins' Velocity Trio, which features drummer/percussionist Pedro Segundo and Ross Stanley on the Hammond B-3, led by Rollins' trombone and electronics. You also don't hear too many bands that devote their international debut to a numerical motif. "My familiar area of funk and groove was not the focus, but not to be ignored," the leader explains. "I chose the overall theme (and composition titles) to reflect global awareness, focusing on the evolution of human collective consciousness AND the need to recognize each individual's unique spiritual being. I honed in on a specific date on our calendar—November 11, 2011 (11.11.11)—THE ELEVENTH GATE, signaling a universal paradigm shift, an emergence into our authentic selves." (November 11, 2011 was also Rollins' 47th [4 + 7 = 11] birthday.)

So The 11th Gate is sprawling and ambitious. Thanks to Rollins' inventive instrumentation and compositions, stitched into whole cloth by solo trombone, percussion and Hammond interludes, it is also a triumph. The leadoff "Samba Galactica" serves a great introductory course: While Segundo and Stanley drift in and out of airy samba and jazz rhythms, Rollins's trombone alternates between notes that sharply sting like crisply articulated trumpet, and soft tones that paint in butterfly flurries of languid color; when Rollins' trombone steps aside, Segundo and Stanley dialogue generates engaging Brazilian magic.

On "The Other Side," Stanley runs through organ chords that somehow bob and crest in waves, from which Rollins' trombone seems to rise like a larger than life musical leviathan. Rollins kicks off "Big Chill" with meaty riffing, introducing New Orleans drumming that quickly shuffles much further out, then leads the trio back and forth between this progressive jazz stratosphere and a more earthy, wanton Crescent City funk stomp.

The Velocity Trio's take on "Freedom Jazz Dance" sounds naturally its own, as if it was its tune and not written by Eddie Harris
Eddie Harris
Eddie Harris
1934 - 1994
saxophone
. Harris would like this version: Segundo and Stanley shake and stir the rhythm as Rollins' trombone makes pleasantly light work of this funky, muscular jazz classic to transform his inspiration into original and inventive music—perhaps the ultimate tribute to the iconoclastic, quixotic Harris.

Tribecastan New DeliTriBeCaStan

New Deli

EverGreene Music

2011

TriBeCaStan is a mythical kingdom or mystical state (or both) founded by John Kruth and Jeff Greene, built upon music brought within its walls from Western China, Cuba, Morocco, Uzbekistan and just about any and every where else. For New Deli, their second official "state communication," TriBeCaStan's population expands to include Claire Daly
Claire Daly
Claire Daly

sax, baritone
, baritone sax ace for Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal
b.1942
guitar
(and previously, James Brown
James Brown
James Brown
1933 - 2006
vocalist
); ska trumpeter Johnny Turner
Johnny Turner
b.1934
; and Bruce Huebner, master of the pentatonic bamboo Japanese flute.

"As we say in TriBeCaStan, 'If your toes all face one way, you will walk crooked,'" Greene suggests. "This means we must be in solidarity with all of the world to find the right direction. If you dig around in the '60s and '70s in music from India, Thailand and Ethiopia, you hear how the musicians borrowed from and reworked American music. We're just doing the same thing, but in reverse."

"We've not only been inspired by world-class global musicians like Bachir Attar of the Master Musicians of Jajouka, Carnatic mandolin master U. Rajesh, and the Austrian hurdy-gurdy virtuoso Mathias Loibner," Kruth explains, "we invited them to play as guests on New Deli!"

You can pick out of this unique pan-cultural tapestry jazz threads from rewoven tunes by Don Cherry
Don Cherry
Don Cherry
1936 - 1995
trumpet
, Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
b.1930
sax, alto
, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk
Rahsaan Roland Kirk
Rahsaan Roland Kirk
1936 - 1977
reeds
, but there's almost no way for mere words to justly address the breadth and depth of this journey through TriBeCaStan.

Recorded at Bill Laswell
Bill Laswell
Bill Laswell
b.1955
bass
's studio, Kirk's "Freaks for the Festival" holds high the banner for this ensemble to march behind. Horns shuffle in a New Orleans rhythm while the drummer and percussionists rock a more Latin groove, further enhanced by Kirk alumni Steve Turre
Steve Turre
Steve Turre
b.1948
trombone
's steamy trombone solo. "Two for Ornette," a medley of Coleman's "Dee Dee" and "Theme from a Symphony," dances toward the Caribbean on percussion, strings and Turre's bleats on shells, while a solitary horn counterpoints back toward New Orleans. This electronic treatment of Cherry's "Guinea" sounds like another world trapped someplace between ancient and modern times. "The Mystery of Licorice McKechnie," a disconnected string of percussion, synthesizer and alto sax, sounds as close as you can come to a crazy Sun Ra
Sun Ra
Sun Ra
1914 - 1993
keyboard
tune performed by someone other than Ra.


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