130

Lan Xang: Hidden Gardens

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Their 1997 debut on saxophonist David Binney’s “Mythology Label” marked a high point for jazz, as “Lan Xang” pursued modern jazz with crushing penetration and an edge rarely witnessed in small acoustic ensembles. On Hidden Gardens the musicians continue their conviction, while augmenting the group sound and overall sonic appearance with ethnocentric horns, percussion and Binney’s conceptualized utilization of samplers.

The potent two-sax attack commences on “The Restless Many”. Here and throughout, the saxophonist’s are a mini-orchestra as they pursue engaging themes and ideas that may indeed take the listener to no man’s land, aided by intriguingly ethereal samples and otherworldly motifs. The band belts out hot, punchy “Brecker Brother-ish” horn charts on “Trinity Place” while McCaslin’s flute performance on “Xang Six” counterbalances the faintly suggested inferences of Asian modalities. On “Mode Four”, Scott Colley’s booming yet authoritative bass performance anchors the steamy, hard driving dual sax lines as Binney and McCaslin jab and spar atop a simply devastating rhythm section. This is “Heavy Metal” jazz sans the metallic element which equates to loads of impact and excitement as minimalist choruses segue into rampant free-jazz dialogue on “Xang Eight”. Binney is a literal speed merchant during the slightly abstract yet high-octane-funk piece titled, “Gradual Impulse” as he and McCaslin shout lofty unison choruses atop pounding rhythms.

The underlying mood or premise may suggest that Hidden Gardens is an untainted or unspoiled dwelling that cultivates one’s imaginative powers. Here, “Lan Xang” act as your virtual tour guides for this most appealing and quite extraordinary voyage. * * * * 1/2

Personnel:

Donny McCaslin; Tenor & Soprano Sax, Flute, Tunisian Horn, Percussion: David Binney; Alto Sax, Clarinet & Live Samples: Scott Colley; Bass, Percussion: Kenny Wolleson; Drums, Percussion

Web: www.hnh.com

| Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Chris Potter Chris Potter
reeds
Dave Liebman Dave Liebman
saxophone
David Binney David Binney
saxophone
Donny McCaslin Donny McCaslin
saxophone
Seamus Blake Seamus Blake
sax, tenor
Mika Pohjola Mika Pohjola
piano
Drew Gress Drew Gress
bass
Sharel Cassity Sharel Cassity
saxophone
Chris Speed Chris Speed
saxophone

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Live At Shinjuku Pit Inn" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Shinjuku Pit Inn
by Nicola Negri
Published: September 9, 2016
Read "88" CD/LP/Track Review 88
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 24, 2016
Read "Jazz Jukebox" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Jukebox
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 31, 2016
Read "Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau" CD/LP/Track Review Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 16, 2017
Read "HUJE 2015" CD/LP/Track Review HUJE 2015
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 2, 2016
Read "The Quest: Live at the A.P.C." CD/LP/Track Review The Quest: Live at the A.P.C.
by Jim Trageser
Published: February 14, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!