All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

111

Arun Ghosh: Primal Odyssey

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Primal Odyssey, the second album from British/Asian clarinetist and composer Arun Ghosh, is yet more evidence that the Northwest of England is a creative center for some of the most stylish contemporary jazz. Admittedly, Ghosh is now based in London, but the towns of his formative years must take some of the credit for nurturing and encouraging his talents. As a writer and performer, Ghosh is developing a formidable reputation, which this album can only enhance.

The influence of Ghosh's upbringing—"conceived in Calcutta, bred in Bolton, matured in Manchester," as he puts it—comes over strongly on Primal Odyssey's ten tunes. There are melodies, harmonies and rhythms from Bengal, the Middle East, Europe and North America: "Indo Jazz" goes some way to describing the sound of this album, but not all the way. Ghosh's writing, playing and choice of band lineup draw on a wide and eclectic mix of influences, where the sounds of Ornette Coleman or Charles Mingus sit shoulder-to-shoulder with Shakespeare's The Tempest and the work of actor Pete Postlethwaite.

The frontline of Ghosh's clarinet, tenor saxophonist Zoe & Idris Rahman and bass clarinetist Shabaka Hutchings works beautifully, a soulful and often haunting sound that can be romantic ("Eros"), joyous ("Damascus"), or even funky ("Lal Qil'ah (The Red Fort").

Ghosh's sinuous and flowing clarinet lines are a central focus, but it's often what goes on down in the basement that gives the music its depth and atmosphere. Hutchings and bassist Liran Donin (from Led Bib) are crucial to the creation of the set's many and varied musical moods. Hutchings' gently flowing rhythm gives the gorgeous "Nocturne (Chandra Dhun)" added strength and dignity, while the combination of bass clarinet and double bass adds an air of mystery to "Caliban's Revenge." When Donin moves to bass guitar, his partnership with drummer Pat Illingworth brings out the rockier edge of Ghosh's compositions.

The rather gynecological imagery of the inner sleeve art serves to emphasize the primal beginnings of Ghosh's odyssey, but the angel-like baby clarinetist on the front cover is more truly representative of this music. Mysterious, spiritual, hopeful and joyous by turns, Primal Odyssey is a superb and life-affirming work.

Track Listing: Caliban's Revenge; Unravel; Yerma; Lal Qil'ah (The Red Fort); Headrush; Intifada; Eros; Damascus; Icarus; Nocturne (Chandra Dhun).

Personnel: Arun Ghosh: clarinet; Idris Rahman: saxophone (1-9), clarinet (10); Shabaka Hutchings: bass clarinet; Liran Donin: double-bass (1-3, 5-7, 10), electric bass (4, 8, 9); Pat Illingworth: drums.

Title: Primal Odyssey | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Camoci Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read For Gyumri CD/LP/Track Review
For Gyumri
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 19, 2018
Read Sextet (Parker) 1993 CD/LP/Track Review
Sextet (Parker) 1993
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 19, 2018
Read Esperanto/Toca Antonio Carlos Jobim CD/LP/Track Review
Esperanto/Toca Antonio Carlos Jobim
by Kevin Press
Published: February 19, 2018
Read 9 CD/LP/Track Review
9
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 19, 2018
Read Orientation CD/LP/Track Review
Orientation
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 18, 2018
Read Romaria CD/LP/Track Review
Romaria
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 18, 2018
Read "Imagination" CD/LP/Track Review Imagination
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Zero" CD/LP/Track Review Zero
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 6, 2018
Read "Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand" CD/LP/Track Review Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "Speechless" CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Shadow Work" CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "Pathways" CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 30, 2017