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With their 3rd release titled Ast, “Pachora” continues to extend their reach to the global-beat, modern jazz community. A sprightly diversion from their ongoing and thoroughly cutting edge projects within the time honored New York City – Downtown – scene, multi-reedman Chris Speed, bassist Skuli Sverrisson, drummer Jim Black and guitarist Brad Shepik here, utilizing the electric saz and tamboura perform with charisma and jollity! Without a doubt, these musicians do indeed convey a harmonious musical relationship, which is also evident on other non-related projects, - as history dictates.
“Pachora’s music is marked by Balkan, Middle Eastern and/or North African motifs spurred upon by clarinetist Chris Speed’s glistening lyricism and altogether buoyant lines coupled with Brad Shepik’s determined and unwavering chord progressions on electric saz. With pieces such as “Freaky Person” and “Aquarians”, the band performs with a sense of relaxed urgency melded with sonorous melodies, Black’s loose yet expansive rhythmic undercurrent and Sverrisson’s limber and extremely fluid bass lines. Throughout, the lead soloists communicate jubilation, verve and excitement amid a seemingly nomadic approach as if they were taking the listener on a journey through the Sahara while Sverrisson and Black perform with Herculean agility. “Rebetiki” is all about, mystical and bewitching themes while “Scorpions” contains sweet harmonies and rhapsodic unison lines atop the sturdy rhythmic flow. All in all, the festive demeanor and hip grooves might indeed parallel the sensation of visiting an exotic or far-away paradise. Hence, we are treated to a rather heartfelt, vivacious and engaging listening experience........
* * * 1/2 (out of * * * * *)
Chris Speed; Clarinet: Brad Shepik; Tamboura & Electric Saz: Skuli Sverrisson; Bass: Jim Black; Snare & Bass Drum, Dumbek & Percussion
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.