146

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 band 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 saxophonists 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 belt 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: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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 Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
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 "Billows Of Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Jim Crow's Tears" CD/LP/Track Review Jim Crow's Tears
by James Nadal
Published: November 10, 2016
Read "Magia" CD/LP/Track Review Magia
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 6, 2016
Read "Akua's Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Nwayo" CD/LP/Track Review Nwayo
by James Nadal
Published: June 24, 2016
Read "Convallaria" CD/LP/Track Review Convallaria
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 22, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!