This is a unique assortment of Ray Ashley compositions with Ashley playing Touch guitar yet another tapping instrument versus picking or strumming exclusively. Paul Mimlitsch guests on Warr guitar/loops, (another stringed, tap-type thing). Freedom Electric is drums, Dema San Tuna is organ, Amy Ksir is oboe and flute, with Jim Speer on clarinet and bass clarinet.
Greg Howard, Steve Hahn, Oracular, and Chapman Stick fans might enjoy this release. With novel song structures and extra instruments to augment things, Ashley will serve to please. Strongest “jamming out, overdriven, slightly fuzzed” moments are found on the Frippish/Santanesque “Cinema Inferno” and “Crazylegs” tracks. Best cuts to “space-out” to are the loop effects on the outros of “Pyramid of Five” and the flute/ Warr guitar loops on “Crazylegs”. Songs vary from 0:37 to 23:10 with shorter cuts being sombre reed-based, chamber music interludes. Each is interesting and executed with polish. The organ textures add a truly eclectic nostalgic flavor to Ashley’s improv voyages. Ashley has a nimble Touch and does well on every cut he Touches.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.