Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!


Chris Washburne and the SYOTOS Band: Land of Nod


Sign in to view read count
Trombonist, composer and bandleader Chris Washburne heads up a spirited band called SYOTOS, which is an acronym for "See You On The Other Side," which dates back to an expression used by him just before his successful cancer surgery to his fellow musicians.

The title of this album comes from author Jonathan Swift who, in Gulliver's Travels, coined the expression "land of nod." I thought after hearing this album that no one who listens to it will be in the land of nod. In Washburne's liner notes lies the explanation. Metaphorically, the "land of nod" is America, whose citizens lie in a state of semi-somnolence while "we are at the mercy of shortsighted, arrogant and self-interested leaders." Washburne, like other musicians (eg. Charlie Haden), injects his political unhappiness into his music. The cover of the album depicts a washed-out American flag, and three of the compositions are titled "Pink," "Off-White" and "Blue Gust" (red, white and blue).

Musically speaking, this is nominally a Latin jazz band that goes beyond that genre to incorporate funk/groove music that is just as dance-friendly as salsa rhythms. Technically, only the opening "Pink," "Land of Nod" and the latter half of "Guantanamo" are full-tilt Latin jazz, with a certain intensity that emphasizes horn riffs. I can't get over how much trumpeter John Walsh, with his clarion, high-range playing, reminds me of Marty Sheller, who enlivened Mongo Santamaria's band, beginning with his "Watermelon Man" era.

Washburne has a slightly rough sound on trombone, with a bit of Ray Anderson (not the bit that is wild and crazy), and he enlivens the music with his solos. Ole Mathisen is clearly influenced by post-Coltrane tenor saxophonists, and on "Off-White" and Ornette Coleman's "Peace," he gets off some virtriolic solos that push the envelope. The bubbling percussion is provided by guest artist Bobby Sanabria and conguero Chembo Corniel.

I would venture that this is an act one has to see perform in person!

Track Listing: Pink; Off-Whte; Blue Gust; Op-Ed; Oi Ne Khody Hrytsin Tai na Vechornysti; Guantanamo; Land of Nod; Peace; Peace.

Personnel: Chris Washburne: trombone, percussion; John Walsh: trumpet; Ole Mathisen: tenor saxophone, clarinet;Barry Olsen: piano; Leo Traversa: bass; Vince Cherico: drums; Chembo Corniel: congas. Special Guests: Bobby Sanabria: percussion; Malken Derno: Korean gong.

Title: Land of Nod | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Jazzheads


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Solid Gold CD/LP/Track Review Solid Gold
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 15, 2018
Read Ts'iibil Chaaltun CD/LP/Track Review Ts'iibil Chaaltun
by Don Phipps
Published: January 15, 2018
Read One Night in Indy CD/LP/Track Review One Night in Indy
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 15, 2018
Read A Sky You Could Strike a Match On CD/LP/Track Review A Sky You Could Strike a Match On
by Patrick Burnette
Published: January 15, 2018
Read Open Borders CD/LP/Track Review Open Borders
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 14, 2018
Read can't believe, won't believe CD/LP/Track Review can't believe, won't believe
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: January 14, 2018
Read "Runnin' for the Ghost" CD/LP/Track Review Runnin' for the Ghost
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 1, 2017
Read "The Long Journey Home" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Journey Home
by James Nadal
Published: March 17, 2017
Read "Nellie Bly Project" CD/LP/Track Review Nellie Bly Project
by Paul Rauch
Published: August 11, 2017
Read "Hudson" CD/LP/Track Review Hudson
by Doug Collette
Published: June 14, 2017
Read "Trollskogen" CD/LP/Track Review Trollskogen
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: December 22, 2017
Read "Don't Blink" CD/LP/Track Review Don't Blink
by David A. Orthmann
Published: October 5, 2017