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Recorded in Jakarta (Indonesia) in 2011, Dictionary 2 presents the first international release from one of Indonesia's most acclaimed jazz-rock fusion trios: Drummer/percussionist Gusti Hendy, bassist Adi Darmawan and guitarist Agam Hanzah. (Hendy doubles as a member of Indonesia's pop-rock sensations GIGI.)
Dictionary 2 burns with enough kinetic energy to traverse the entire distance of Ligro's unique "east meets west" jazz-rock guitar fusion, which sounds strongly influenced by Robert Fripp and Bill Bruford, and their progressive guitar and drum work in King Crimson, plus metallic fragments of guitarists John McLaughlin and Jeff Beck. But Dictionary 2 is no historical or musical textbook. Guitarist Hanzah plays as much as each song needs (and sometimes more); with each song a guitar jam, the tunes sort of melt into each other and cumulatively build Dictionary 2 into a guitarist's dream.
Written to honor the departed trumpeter, "Miles Away" kicks a limber groove which Hanzah's guitar spikes upon jagged funk riffs and then slowly turns inside out. Darmawan opens "Stravinsky (with Bach intro)," Ligro's variation on Stravinsky's "An Easy Piece Using Five Notes," with an enchanting solo bass Bach meditation, while Hendy drums with a combination of power and fluidity heard in few drummers other than Bruford.
"Etude Indienne" exhaustively explores Ligro's "east meets west" instrumental horizons: Hanzah's guitar intro casts McLaughlin's style in the sound of grunge before the trio settles into the rhythmic feel of an open rock raga, pulses more than beats, pulses which bubble and crest into waves of melody and rhythm. "Transparansi" opens with a bright, airy percussion and guitar discussion before the trio breaks up the entire structure down to its foundation.
"Future" and "Don Juan" attune more closely to the groove. Ligro's "Future" revels in a biting, edgy sound that flows from blues to progressive jazz-rock without adapting much structure from either. "Don Juan" finally backs off the throttle, and Hanzah chops out guitar chords that settle into a more relaxed and roomy feeling than the compressed, kinetic action throughout the rest of Dictionary 2.
Track Listing: Paradox; Stravinsky (with Bach Intro); Future; Don Juan; Bliker 3; Etude Indienne; Miles
Personnel: Agam Hamzah: guitar; Adi Darmawan: bass guitar; Gusti Hendi: drums, percussion.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.