Saxophonist Ilia Belorukov and bass guitarist Mikhail Ershov made a good move when they invited four other musicians to collaborate on 47 semi-improvised parts of what they call "sound games." The use of instruments had to be unusual, and the whole venture lasted 23 minutes.
Improvisation can be fun and imaginative if the musicians key into each other as they do here on Act III: Comics, breathing life into each short vignette. Everyone has individual space to set up the moment and another to complement it. The dialogue between bass and electric guitar is a bow to electronica, but the canvas is wide enough to harbor careening rock guitar motifs, breathy invocations from the saxophone as well as a welter of squiggles and the forlorn cry of taut violin strings. Space is also ushered in, and despite the framework, time is not a luxury. They use it well to strike up conversations and soliloquies with equal eloquence.
All of this music is mixed down to 10-plus minutes by violinist Arturas Bumšteinas and clarinetist Piotr Kurek, who also add a looper, synth and laptop for their ministrations. The linearity is seamless underscored by a melodic vein from the sweet tones of the clarinet. The simulation breaks out of the body of the original fragments not only to shape a whole but a different tangent as well.
The package is done up in comic book-style from the cover to the insert, which is a great idea. With the music casing a spell of its own, this turns out to be an entertaining CD.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.