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The surprise in the pairing of these three creative music superstars is not that they have finally recorded together. The astonishing thing about Eloping With The Sun is the music they decided to make.
Choosing African instruments, percussionist Hamid Drake and bassist William Parker create trance-inducing rhythms for guitarist Joe Morris to play the banjo (yes, a banjo) and banjouke behind, over, and around. Morris, who is known to whip guitars into spaghetti-like chords of sound, eschews the noodles for a distinctive high-end sound of the banjo and the ukelele-like banjoukle.
William Parker choses a sintir, the four-stringed Morrocan bass lute, to propel energy lines throughout. Its sound, a whirling drone buzz associated with Gnawa music, may be a bit foreign to jazz ears. Together with the frame drumming of Hamid Drake, the pair creates a meditative statement not unlike an Indian raga.
Their almost Luddite music preference causes listeners to be off balance at first. But given a chance, this music gels. Their repeated patterns reveal minute changes and intricacies. The dreamlike state created allows for the distinct taut sounds of Morris' choice of instrumentation.
Track Listing: Sand Choir; Dawn Sun; Hop-Kin; Stepdance; Dream.
Personnel: William Parker: Sintir; Joe Morris: Banjo, Banjouke; Hamid Drake: Frame Drum.
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.