This fourth release by Earth Wheel Sky Band finds the Serbian group a step further up its music ladder. The band's first two releases worked with both contemporary and traditional arrangements, maintaining the integrity of the music from the region; the third, 21st Century, was a collection of side works and collaborative projects that leader Olah Vintze undertook with or without the rest of the band.
The Last Gypsy Tango finds the band merging gypsy music from the north of Serbia, which is more under the influence of Hungarian folk music, with brass instruments and uneven rhythms from the south. EWSB draws with ease from a myriad of other forms like flamenco, reggae and soul. Each song draws you to its heart, and keeps you there. This is not the first time that EWSB has amalgamated different traditions; the approach yielded outstanding results on the group's previous records.
The band's playing is the first thing that will strike you as you start to listen to the record. The musicians play with exuberance and each one exudes a buoyant, infectious energy. The material flows easily and is well balanced, especially with respect to the arrangements. The music ranges from the dreamy opener, "Gypsy Tango, to soulful ballads like the achingly beautiful "Rumba Janika (a standout track with its killer violin, swinging clarinet and wonderful rhythms) and folkish up-tempo tracks like "Amorroma (whose opening melody, on clarinet, is taken from Bizet's Carmen), "Ushti Rroma, "Free7/8 and "Scheherezeda. Other highlights include "ApsolutRromantic (a traditional gypsy song that became popular during the '80s, when it was "stolen by a popular singer at the time, who introduced it as his) and "Tikno Luludi.
The band's approach on this record could perhaps be characterized as ethnic jazz, but the roots and fronds of the tradition make it irresistible. This is indispensable stuff from giants of gypsy music. Highly recommended.
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr. Garner, I love playing the piano... is there any advice you could give me?'' He hesitated, then looked back at me and said, Keep playin' and don't stop!'' That was great advice because at 60 years old, I'm still playin' and haven't stopped!