The best way to listen to multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Kali Z. Fasteau is to open up one's senses as a vessel to accomodate the myriad of textures, rhythms and themes she weaves throughout her work. Her new release, Making Waves , is comprised mostly of duets that cast her free jazz pedigree in bold face. Joining her on this aquatic excursion are tenor sax man Kidd Jordan, pianist Bobby Few and bassist Sirone.
Fasteau builds the foundation from the top with the evocative, synthesizer-driven "Whalesong," on which Jordan hits notes so high on the tenor that it actually sounds like he's playing the trumpet. She plays a Middle Eastern flavored soprano sax on "Ocean Moonrise," a duet with Few; "High Seas" finds her on drumsnot her strong suitwith Jordan blowing loud staccato riffs behind her.
As if this weren't enough, Fasteau adds classical elements to the repertoire by playing the cello on "Cascades," another duet with Few. "Celestial Tides" is an atmospheric, moody piece where Fasteau's synthesizer hooks up again with Jordan's searching, searing tenor. Things really open up on "Many Rivers" and "Yemaya/La Sirene," both of which feature the entire group, with Fasteau overdubbed on cello and drums on one, playing mizmar on the other. With her and Sirone wailing wordless vocals, the visceral emotion and musicality on these cuts are spiritual children of the classic ensemble works from Coltrane's late period, such as Meditations and Om.
Fasteau makes it clear that the listener must drop any preconceived notions of what jazz is or should be. Her music bursts through and challenges any categorization and the listener must be ready for the experience.
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