This International trio's second album contains an East meets West nomenclature, but a case can be made that their unique bridging of various modalities defies strict categorizations. Enhanced by audiophile qualities, the recording radiates a mystical communion of diverse instrumentation that toggles between conventional world jazz norms and a horde of tasty abstracts or pieces where Marco Jencarelli's electric guitar lines signal glimpses of jazz fusion. Vocalist, percussionist Tony Majdalani's Middle Eastern-based chants on various pieces float above John Wolf Brennan use of arcopiano, accordion, zither and melodica. Essentially, the keyboardist looms as the nucleus of this first-class outing.
In his liner notes Peter Monaghan aptly states that, "The pieces that the trio explores or creates take shape from the three pilgrims' peeling layers away from inside and around the melodies, searching behind every groove or fragment to see what is waiting to be discovered." Hence, the musicians' layered sound- sculpting processes and buoyant cadences amalgamate a polytonal vista via subtly complex song-forms and surreal imagery tinted with enchanting exchanges. But it's not a slow-moving, easy listening type endeavor as the artists flaunt their chops and upbeat creative sparks on a continual basis.
The band often executes medium-tempo works featuring Majdalani's fluent acoustic and electric guitar phrasings, as Brennan's rather mysterious oudpiano keyboard does sound like an oud with keys. He also imparts jazz improv during several movements, yet largely circles around a given melody line or primary theme as the musicians delve into rhythmic call / response implementations throughout. On "Ourboros," it sounds like Brennan's melodica is plugged in, offset by Majdalani's sprightly world percussion grooves. However, "The Now is a Knot in Time" features the keyboardist's intricate zither phrasings to complement his bandmates' vocals, and counterpoint, all embedded within their guileful thematic developments.
"Another Choice: for Finnegan's Sake," is the lengthiest piece at 11:23. Here, Brennan's emphatic and entertaining interpretation of James Joyce's Finnegans Wake is extracted from an online project of some capacity, stemming from an audio book. It's a slice of literary lore with a modern twist. Otherwise, Brennan adapts a frequently used Sun Ra message for the trio's motto, that "Music is the healing force of the universe." In simple terms, these words duly encapsulate the artists' resonating output.
Track Listing: The Now is Not in Time; Hang Loose (on a Camel in Obernau); Water Whole 1; Oriental Belles; More
than Two; Ouroboros; Water Whole 2; Arosa-are you Hear?; The Now is a Knot in Time; Water Whole
3; Occidental Orbit; Another Choice: for Finnegan s Sake; The lost Papyrus Roll.
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz.
Being a Musician myself, (Lead Guitar/Bass Guitar), I studied at the Dick Grove School of Music with Dick Grove, Jeff Richman and Lee Ritenour. This was around '84-'85. I started playing the Guitar in November 1967. Playing Guitar came quite naturally to me thank goodness. Though I spent hours upon hours practicing while my school buddies were doing Sports.
It was in the early '70s that I really got into Jazz, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and World Music. Seeing Weather Report, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, RTF, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, VSOP, Freddie Hubbard and so many, many more amazing artists opened my eyes to the beauty and eloquent nature of Jazz. I really love the brilliant ensemble playing that is in Jazz!!
When I play and write music, it blends so many style together. Many fans ask me why my playing sounds so jazzy. It's because I understand Blue Notes, the phrasing, the tonality, time signatures and more. I can also play Rock, Folk, Soul, R n' B and other styles too. I seem to gravitate more and more as I get older to a jazzier style. Currently I'm 62 years old. I have released 2 CDs world-wide. Working on my 3rd.
I also teach Guitar/Bass/Music Theory to my students. They range from 6 years old to much, much older. (I was hired by the City of Aurora, CO to teach ages 6-13 specifically). Currently I teach 41 children in 5 classes. Additionally another 7 private students.
My wife, Meesh, and I love Jazz dearly. It was one of the things that we share together!
Most of the people that I know today do not get jazz. I try to explain what to listen for, but many times the music of Jazz is a bit much for them. So be it.
In a nutshell, I live, breath and listen to Music 24/7. No TV except the Food Channel and Weather.
I love John Kelman's articles. They are so insightful and well-constructed!
Thank you all for doing what you do.