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 was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. After going through Rock 'n Roll, the Beatles and Heavy Metal/Hard Rock phases over the next eight or so years, I finally bought my first jazz album; We're All Together Again for the First Time by Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan. I was hooked on jazz, and still am 40+ years later.
I moved from England to the USA in 2002, and founded the Brookfield Jazz Society in 2005.
I became editor of the quarterly IAJRC Journalin 2012. The magazine goes to the worldwide membership of the IAJRC (International Association of Jazz Record Collectors) and many major libraries and educational establishments around the world.
As well as being the editor of the IAJRC Journal, I write about jazz and review CDs, vinyl, DVDs and books on jazz.
Login to your All About Jazz member account to submit articles and press releases, upload images, edit musician profiles, add events and business listings, communicate with other members via personal messages, submit inqueries or contribute any content.