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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gordon Grdina/Mark Helias: No Difference

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No Difference takes place at the crossroads of the known and unknown, expected and surprising, and fenced in and free. More importantly, it's an album built upon the bonds of shared experience. Each of the four musicians involved with this project can be paired off with at least one other in their respective backstories. Grdina and bassist Mark Helias play together every time the guitarist/oud master makes his way from his home base in Vancouver to New York; Helias and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gordon Grdina's Haram: Her Eyes Illuminate

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Vancouver-based oudist/guitarist Gordon Grdina has been bending genres and creating East-meets-West contexts for his instruments for quite some time. He put his own spin on modern jazz with Box Cutter, melded outré twentieth century chamber ideals with Arabian themes with the East Van Trio and created a Persian/Arabian/Indian hybrid with Sangha. Now, Grdina turns his attention to folk themes and popular music crafted by Iranian and Egyptian artists over the past century with this exciting dectet. Haram, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Gordon Grdina Trio: . . . If Accident Will

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Guitarist/oudist Gordon Grdina is one of those rare musicians who is at home in several genres, bringing a strong presence to his music. He is as adept in improvised music as he is in Arabic Taqaism or Indian music. He can let his oud sing a rapturous song and make his guitar rock loud and heavy. But it is his merging of different streams that gives the greatest credibility to his artistry and his vision. And he can build a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gordon Grdina's East Van Strings: The Breathing of Statues

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Guitarist/oudist Gordon Grdina has gathered a marvelous string trio to fulfill a longtime desire of producing music in the mode of Béla Bartók. The compositions on The Breathing of Statues were written specifically for the trio involved--violinist Jesse Zubot, violist Eyvind Kang and cellist Peggy Lee--after Grdina had played with them freely. Grdina's writing then served as the structure for the recording date, but “the resulting execution and arrangements," Grdina says, “were forged by the ensemble."

The album opens with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gordon Grdina's Boxcutter: Unlearn

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You can tell that guitarist Gordon Grdina does not perceive music through a guitarist's eyes solely. The tunes on Unlearn, with his group Box Cutter, seem formed from deeply collaborative ideas, with considerable importance placed on the contribution of each player and a great regard for their respective instruments. Musicianship on the album is grand and the personalities that emerge amusing. They're coy, brisk and unstoppable on the opening track “Titlewave. Grdina proves he's got lots of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gordon Grdina / Gary Peacock / Paul Motian: Think Like the Waves

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Vancouver electric guitarist Gordon Grdina's tone is clean and low-treble; this creates a kind of dreamy effect, like Jim Hall's sound on his classic duet with Bill Evans, Undercurrent (Blue Note, 1962). And speaking of Evans, Grdina scores an impressive coup by recording this trio album in the company of two Evans alumni, bassist Gary Peacock (Grdina's teacher of several years) and drummer Paul Motian. This rhythmic dream team complements Grdina's gifts nicely. The leader favors a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gordon Grdina / Gary Peacock / Paul Motian: Think Like The Waves

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We should always be grateful for music that's greater than the sum of its parts, and here's a case in point: a guitar trio that covers a whole lot of ground in celebrating the timeless virtues of subtle, intuitive interplay--and celebrates the eternal joy of conclusively making its point without raising its collective voice.

Of the three musicians here, Paul Motian, who might the most readily associated with a subtle, sly approach to the maintenance of a musical pulse, is ...


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