Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

286

Cyro Baptista: Lucifer, The Dreamers & Orra

By

Sign in to view read count






John Zorn
Lucifer,:Book of Angels, Volume 10
Tzadik
2008


John Zorn
The Dreamers
Tzadik
2008


Phantom Orchard
Orra
Tzadik
2008




Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista is one of the great sidemen currently active, a musician whose resourcefulness can enrich and enliven almost any music, with projects from Cassandra Wilson to John Zorn. Over the years his musical spectrum has expanded to take in a host of styles and cultures, his notion of 'percussion' expanding as well to include anything that might be struck or scraped. That repertoire of styles and sounds is apparent in his own projects, like Beat the Donkey and the recent Banquet of the Spirits (both on Zorn's Tzadik label), and his contributions to Zorn's current music and other Tzadik projects are evident in these three recent releases.

Lucifer is the latest recording by Zorn's Bar Kokhba ensemble, a brilliant group of string players and percussionists devoted to Zorn's Masada themes. Zorn's use of traditional modes strongly invokes an ancestral middle-Eastern world and Bar Kokhba's instrumentation emphasizes a certain timeless feel: it can sound like it might spring from the 15th century instead of the 21st, with the two worlds just as often mingling. There's an ancient microtonal wail in Mark Feldman's violin, while Erik Friedlander possesses a special instrumental resource, at times making his pizzicato cello sound uncannily like an oud ("Zaziel"), at other times like an English lute. Zorn contrasts these elements with the often rock-flavored guitar of Marc Ribot, while drummer Joey Baron and Baptista create compelling rhythmic mixes, combining the former's kit with the latter's varied use of hand drums like dumbek to enhance that sense of ancestral presence.

Baptista is part, too, of Zorn's most recent transformation, the cycle of compositions embodied in the concept album The Dreamers. Some of the same middle-Eastern elements are apparent, as on "Forbidden Tears," but the background of The Dreamers invokes a much more recent palette. The style hovers near the atmospheric lounge exotica of Martin Denny's Quiet Village, filled with imitations of birdcalls and Amazon percussion courtesy of Baptista.

The sextet often focuses on Ribot's encyclopedic vocabulary of guitar voices, combining the surf guitar of the Ventures, the twang of Duane Eddy and such period film composers as John Barry and Ennio Morricone. At times Ribot even manages to simulate the pedal steel guitar of Santo & Johnny's "Sleepwalk." Zorn's soundscape includes keyboardist Jamie Saft and drummer (here vibraphonist) Kenny Wollesen's takes on cool and Latin jazz as well. The music succeeds on many levels, from its dream-like inventory of lost idioms to its contextual complexity, mixing sounds of the real and the fake to hint at on-going cultural relations in the Americas.

Baptista is just as at home in the startling timbral dreamscapes of Orra from Phantom Orchard, a group constructed around the duo of harpist Zeena Parkins and electronic musician Ikue Mori. Few ensembles have the global cultural reach of Phantom Orchard, here including the additional presence of the Japanese Makigami Koichi on voice and jewsharp, the Finnish Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje on voice and real time processing, American percussionist Josh Quillen on a Caribbean steel drum and Brazilian Baptista contributing his global collection of percussive detail. The result is an elusive, even site-less pastoral that arises in the sliding pitches of Parkins' harps and Mori's varied electronics. The heightened presence of the recording further blurs the line between acoustic and electronic sounds, leading to the gorgeous sonic ambiguity of "Cascade of Joy" with its electronic twitterings mixing with bird-like percussion and harp, or "Omni," with its myriad altered voices and elusive metallic sounds. Phantom Orchard consistently constructs zones in which both sonic identities and formal outlines are in creative flux.


Tracks and Personnel

Lucifer: Book of Angels, Volume 10

Tracks: Sother; Dalquiel; Zazel; Gediel; Rahal; Zechriel; Azbugah; Mehalalel; Quelamia; Abdiel.

Personnel: Cyro Baptista: percussion; Joey Baron: drums; Greg Cohen: bass; Mark Feldman: violin; Erik Friedlander: cello; Marc Ribot: guitar; John Zorn, conductor.

The Dreamers

Tracks: Mow Mow; Uluwati; A Ride on Cottonfair; Anulikwutsayl, Toys; Of Wonder and Certainty (for Lou Reed); Mystic Circles; Nekashim;. Exodus; Forbidden Tears; Raksasa.

Personnel: Cyro Baptista: percussion; Joey Baron: drums; Trevor Dunn: bass; Marc Ribot: guitars; Jamie Saft: keyboards; Kenny Wollesen: vibes; John Zorn: alto sax, conductor.

Orra

Tracks: Inquisitive Fingers; Gypsoflia; Omni; Cavacade; Ship of the Damned; Big Foot; Cascade of Joy; Green Dome; The Well; Magnetic Sleep; Kiss That Conquers.

Personnel: Cyro Baptista: percussion; Makigami Koichi: voice, jewsharp; Ikue Mori: electronics; Zeena Parkins: electric harp, acoustic harp, omnichord; Josh Quillen: steel drum; Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje: voice, real time processing.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Rock Candy: Montrose (eponymous) & Paper Money Multiple Reviews Rock Candy: Montrose (eponymous) & Paper Money
by Doug Collette
Published: December 29, 2017
Read Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition & Rez Abbasi’s Invocation Multiple Reviews Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition & Rez...
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 27, 2017
Read Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk & Najwa Multiple Reviews Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk & Najwa
by Doug Collette
Published: December 23, 2017
Read The Original Delaney & Bonnie (Accept No Substitute) and To Bonnie From Delaney Multiple Reviews The Original Delaney & Bonnie (Accept No Substitute)...
by Doug Collette
Published: December 23, 2017
Read Van Morrison: Roll With The Punches & Versatile Multiple Reviews Van Morrison: Roll With The Punches & Versatile
by Doug Collette
Published: December 17, 2017
Read The Possibilities of Percussion: Yarn/Wire & ensemble, et. al Multiple Reviews The Possibilities of Percussion: Yarn/Wire & ensemble,...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "New, Notable and Nearly Missed" Multiple Reviews New, Notable and Nearly Missed
by Phil Barnes
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "Joe Rosenberg's Ensembles" Multiple Reviews Joe Rosenberg's Ensembles
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 2, 2017
Read "A Sense of Place" Multiple Reviews A Sense of Place
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 12, 2017
Read "Real World Records' Vinyl Reissues" Multiple Reviews Real World Records' Vinyl Reissues
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "Duke Ellington on Storyville Records" Multiple Reviews Duke Ellington on Storyville Records
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 20, 2017