Most of the compositions showcased GIA's third CD, Kaikoura
(Gateway, 2013). With Holm doubling on bass duties, the deep grooves and tinkling keys of "The Grass by the Roses" evoked a funkier, pop version of The Doors. "Kaikoura" and "Sunshine on Fish Skin" combined dreamy, mellifluous saxophone melodies with percolating percussion and the compositions flowed into one another with suite-like fluidity.
Greater energy imbued "Broken Stones"; built around a fat back beat and catchy keyboard ostinato, the tune was utterly infectious, despite little motivic development. "Albert Khan" paid tribute to the philanthropic photographer, with Greve switching to clarinet and Dybbroe playing the congas with mallets on this lightly treading yet emotive number.
GIA's first visit to Ireland ended with the haunting "Migration," which began with susurrus saxophone and sparse, edgy keyboard. An angular departure began with the onset of an intense cymbal/percussion-driven train rhythm that was hypnotic and eerily convincing. As the rattling rhythm seared a path into the very psyche, saxophones sounded anguished groans and growls that flooded the Elmwood Hall in echoing waves. It was a blues in spirit, and a heady closing statement.
With luck, GIA will return in the future to do a more a comprehensive tour of Ireland. Its musical vision defies snug categorization, but there's no denying its powerful, intoxicating effect.