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In reading about Liam Teague's performances with the Buffalo Symphony, Chicago Sinfonietta, St. Louis Symphony and Czech National Philharmonic, you get the feeling he's determined to take the steel pan (aka steel drum), the national instrument of his native Trinidad and Tobago, to the same lofty heights that Argentinian veteran Astor Piazzolla took the bandoneon. Both the pan and the bandoneon have simliar "street roots," and both are distinctive-sounding instruments not heard every day in the music we call jazz.
Listening to Rhythm Through the Unobstructed View, you get the feeling that Teague and his Panoramic co-founder, Robert Chappell (piano, marimba, vibes, tablas), might just have the right stuff to take the pan to a Piazzollian level.
The pan's sound has a bright, ringing quality in front of bubbling world beat rhythms, making for an infectiously danceable listening experience. The disc opens with "Panoramic," in a calypso mode, then slips into "Orlando's Cha-Cha," featuring Orlando Cotto on marimba churning out three Afro-Cuban rhythms at once, with Doug Stone adding a straight-ahead jazz tint to the mix on saxophone. "Chant" brings in an Indian rhythm. "Pearl" floats gently in a bossa/samba mode; and the closer, the Brazilian tune "Calcados Feliz" ("Happy Footwear"), burbles and soars, with Doug Stone on sax blowing into a brief "Surrey With the Fringe on Top" riff near the end.
This very upbeat, beautifully engaging mix of sounds from Trinidad, Cuba, Brazil, Africa, India and the US is an auspicious debut.
Track Listing: Panoramic; Orlando's Cha-Cha; Ivory Coast; 88 Degrees in the Shade; Pearls; Nikkara;
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.