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The trio known as “AZOPA” (derived from the musicians’ first names), melds Eastern European provincial themes with East Indian percussion, modern jazz style interplay, world beat grooves and ethereal dialogue. With the opener, “Call The Morning” one of the musicians perpetuates gravely lower register and somewhat indecipherable spoken word colloquy, which could very well signify the output from drummer/percussionist and EFX maestro Patrice Heral’s manipulations of – live electronics. However, violinist Zoltan Lantos renders swirling and altogether resounding choruses atop bassist Achim Tang and Heral’s straight four meter. From the onset, it is easy to discern that we are about to partake in something enticingly different!
The band frames folksy motifs amid a smattering of avant-garde musings and ambient soundscapes yet soar heavenward via Lantos’ sweet-tempered and at times, scorching lines on pieces such as “Daksha” and others. On “Name The Night”, Achim Tang executes a sturdy ostinato bass pulse, which serves as the foundation for Lantos’ lilting hybrid folk/blues/classical/jazz soloing and endearing melodies. Basically, Makahia is an absorbing effort, as this tightly integrated little big band presents the listener with a captivating spin on familiar territory, while maintaining an outwardly unique group sound and vibe! Recommended.