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Solar: Suns of Cosmic Consciousness (2005)

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Solar: Suns of Cosmic Consciousness How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Due to our frame of reference, the path of Mercury's solar orbit appears to retrograde. Zoom out and this backward movement disappears as it becomes clear that Mercury's orbit is closer to the sun than Earth's. Frame of reference and perspective are powerful in coloring our conscious thought. As primarily three dimensional organisms, humans have difficulty conceptualizing dimensions such as time as anything other than linear. Dramatic shifts in reference can aid in altering these linear perceptions. Music can effect just such a change in reference. It is from within and without this perspective that Solar gives up the Suns of Cosmic Consciousness.

Solar played routinely in the East Village during the '90s and authored a musical collaboration with clarinetist Perry Robinson. Here, they intersperse original compositions by pianist Eli Yamin and bassist Adam Bernstein among tunes by Mingus, Weill, Monk, and Sun Ra. The trio, rounded out by percussionist/tenor man Andy Demos, zooms in and out and with ease. The overall feel is one of '60s socio-politico ethos coupled with a post modernist genre slipping approach that can take on jazz/rock fusion, swing, modern jazz, bop, and much more.

Things begin with the Latin cooker "Samba de Azteca, which draws its energy from a Bernstein trip to El Salvador, followed by Yamin's "Reincarnation 1968, in which he couples his wonderfully elegant piano with Hare Ram chanting. Yamin then morphs avant into tongue-in-cheek lightheartedness as he and Mingus "Remember Rockefeller at Attica before an effortlessly lovely straight-ahead "Waltz on the Hudson. Additional pieces bring new perspectives to late drummer Walter Perkins, pianists Bley and Monk, and blues guitarist Earl King, with his "Come On presented complete with vocals. Kurt Weill's "September Song serves as a discordant tribute to the horror of 9/11 before the original Sun of cosmic consciousness, Ra, inspires a final menage á trois with his "Love in Outer Space.

Track Listing: 1. Samba de Aztac; 2. Reincarnation; 3. Remember Rockefeller at Attica; 4.In, Out; 5. Waltz on the Hudson; 6. Rhythm-A-Ning; 7. Perk Up; 8. September Song; 9.Prototype for Constructive Dialogue; 10. Solar 2002; 11. Come On King; 12. Love in Outer Space.

Personnel: Eli Yamin: Piano, Vocals; Adam Bernstein: Vocals, Acoustic Bass; Andy Demos: Percussion, Drums, Tenor Saxophone, Tabla; Kate McGarry: Vocals; Jane Kelly Williams: Vocals.

Record Label: Aztac

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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