If your kids have a way of taking out all the pots and pans from your cupboards and wacking away at them, encourage them. They may someday get it all together and turn out to be a steel pan artist like Andy Narell. In a few years, you could be dancing to the exciting rhythms of the Caribbean on the same spot those same kids were "practicing". Since 1979, Narell has not only applied his imagination and instrumentation to the music of the Caribbean, but to jazz rhythms as well. On his latest you get a flavor for both, although the dominant theme is lilting French Caribbean. And not everything is mile a minute musical meringue. There's a lovely, sensuous "Grand Fabrice", an almost eight minute piece where Narell and his cohorts take us on a musical journey through the lush, exotic trails of the French Caribbean. Narell's cohorts are more than familiar with this music having been leading practitioners for years, especially pianist/vocalist Mario Canonge. Applying the old rubric which urges that the best should be saved for last, is a touching, lamenting "Song for Mia" where all the tension and energy, along with the melancholy and romanticism which has been building up through the seven previous tracks comes together in this 12 minute development of conceptions built upon the ever shifting rhythms of this music with its special sound and exciting call and response of native vocals. One can feel the heat of the Islands seeping out of the CD, so acute is the passion created by this music. This CD may not be suitable for everyday listening. But when one needs to be completely immersed in lush sound, this is the one to pull down from the shelf.
Personnel: Andy Narell - Steel Pans; Mario Canonge - Piano/Fender Rhodes/Vocals; Michel Alibo - Bass/Vocals; Jean Philippe Fanfant - Drums/Vocals; Polo Athanase- Vocals