Multi-instrumentalist and composer Tom Chess is an extraordinary musician who has traveled the world to study and perform with the best and brightest. He's also an accomplished jazz guitarist, having spent quality time with tenor saxophonists like Dewey Redman and Pharaoh Sanders. Residing in New York City, this band in particular was formed in 1999 for its band-members to culminate and integrate musical experiences into a medium that bespeaks worldly connotations.
Chess formulates a hybrid, world-music/jazz state of affairs on this two-disc set. With trumpeter Alicia Rau, bassist Nathan Peck and two percussionists, the band morphs North African and East Indian modalities into a forum for jazz-tinted improvisation. On the opener, titled "Oud taksim on: 19 times in 17 years, Chess' solo oud extrapolations paint a rather solitary milieu. But the quartet subsequently ups the ante on works designed with a buoyant frontline attack, accelerated by sinuous time signatures via linearly designed unison phrasings.
The band alters the velocity in spots as the percussionists lay out a fertile groundwork for the soloists. Besides using loops and an mbira (thumb piano), Chess' mystical flute patterns generate a rather blissful aura during "In the Beautiful Future. Then, on "Aletheia, they conjure up notions of a Morrocan marketplace, enamored by indigenous rhythmic instruments and Chess' alluring flute lines.
Music therapy is a hot topic these days; therefore, Chess' ensemble would seemingly fit snugly into those parameters. Here, the power of music offers a boost to one's spiritual health, which is an insinuating notion that parallels the highly entertaining groove-focused aspects of this largely euphoric encounter.
Track Listing: Disc One - Oud Taksim On - 19 Times In 17 Years; 19 Times In 17 Years; Two Paths; A Poem Change; La
Fumbo; In The Beautiful Future. Disc 2 - Aletheia; Levitation Grain; Oud Taksim On - Fish And Paper Messages;
Fish And Paper Messages; Oud Taksim On - The Rose Apple Tree; The Rose Apple Tree; Peace Warriors (O
Personnel: Tom Chess: oud, ney, western flute, mbira, loops, subtextual sampling; Ravi Padmanabha: tabla, percussion,
morsing; Shane Shanahan: percussion; Alicia Rau: trumpet, flugelhorn; Nathan Peck: upright bass.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.