Safar e Daroon germinates from its dark, submerged interiors immediately and immediately brings you into the light. But a light of what? A lover's lamp? A hushed arena? An Australian wildfire? Take your pick and let your mind go. It's all going to happen and does so in spades on oudist Gordon Grdina's second go-round with his associates, The Marrow.
As it has been on recent releases such as Gordon Grdina's Nomad Trio> (Skirl, 2020) with pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Jim Black, Marrow's Ejdeha (Songlines, 2018) or the rockier quartet clamor of Cooper's Park (Songlines, 2019) it isn't only the dusky, centuries old sense of other-worldliness that arises from Grdina's oud that draws you in. Improvisational yet disciplined, there is always something going on behind the proverbial veil as it were, and that movement has become a watermark of both his writing and his guitar/oud playing.
Now it's more than likely Grdina doesn't give it a second thought whether we think it's jazz or not, but once you begin to think of where the music starts and where it finishes, be it the quixotic title opener that slingshots to a 10/6 rhythm, or "El Baz" with the fevered sparring of Grdina and violinist Josh Zubot seemingly unaware of the burbling conversation between bassist Mark Heliasand cellist Hank Roberts, you're caught in the wake and stir. You flow on the melancholy raga "Shamshir" and the sketchy impulses of "Outsize" and how percussionist Hamin Honari floats between it all, and you instinctually feel the motion.
Safar-e-Daroon: El Baz : Mini-con; Calling on You; Shamshir; Convergence; Illumination; Outsize; Gabriel James.