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Jazz fans may be less prone to musical ethnocentricities and preconceived ideas about song than, say, those folks who go out and buy Madonna CDs, but that restrictive mindset lingers.
Bill Cole is out to shake things up a bit. Cole has been studying and playing a number of eastern double reed instruments for over forty years, and what he is offering up on his Seasoning of the Greens is something of a sonic world tour, with a solid grounding in American jazz. You'll hear the didgeridoo (Australia), the sona (China), hojok (Korea), the shenai and nagaswarm (India), combined with an array of handmade instruments played by his band mate Cooper-Moore.
The eastern sound, to the uninitiated ear, can sound a bit monotonous, drone-like in its approach. Cole and his Untempered Ensemble have solved that sticking point by adding American sounds: baritone horn and tuba, accoustic bass, alto sax, trap drums, and congas and bongos. The suitein nine parts, played continuouslymay sound a bit odd at first, on "Groundings", a low moan, a rather featureless insectile hum; but that's the ethnocentricities suffacing. Give it a minute. Things gel. "The Triple Towers of Kyongbokkang" (Korea) has a lovely, solid melody; and "South Indian Festival Rhythm"to lapse into the jazz vernacularjust plain cooks.
The baritone horn's rich, mellow tone is a nice touch in these proceedings, giving the high end Eastern instruments a solid Western grounding.
The closer, "A Man Sees a Snake, a Woman Kills It; No Matter, as Long as It is Dead" (from a Nigerian proverb) is a rollicking twelve minute closer, Eastern instruments screaming over a Western gutbucket blues, a loose, rapturous New Orleans dixieland cacophony.
An education for the ear, an essential disc for listeners with geographical aspirations or interests in a different musical palette.
Track Listing: Grounded, The Triple Towers of Kyongbokkang, South Indian Festival
Rhythm, Ghanaian Funeral Rhythm, South Indian Marriage Rhythm,
Colombian Rhythm, Free Rhythm, A Man Sees a Snake, a Woman Kills It;
No Matter, as Long as It is Dead
Personnel: Bill Cole, didgeridoo, sona, hojok, shenai, nagaswarm; Cooper-Moore,
handmade instruments; Sam Furnace, alto sax; Joseph Daley, tuba,
baritone horn, William Parker, bass; Warren Smith, trap drums; Atticus
Cole, congas and bongos
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...