153

Solar: Suns of Cosmic Consciousness

By

Sign in to view read count
This first effort from the trio known as Solar introduces one of the more intriguing piano-driven groups on the current scene. Pianist Eli Amin, co-founder of the Jazz Drama Program for children in the New York area, received his Master's Degree in Music Education at Lehman College, CUNY and now teaches at the school. Bassist Alan Bernstein, jazz director at the Berkeley-Carroll School in Brooklyn, NY, is a multi-talented composer/arranger with experience in a variety of musical contexts. Drummer and multi-instrumentalist Andy Demos has performed in groups as eclectic as Tiny Lights, The Whole Earth Ensemble, and the Pamela Wyn Shannon Band.

Together they create a landscape that incorporates a multitude of cultural and stylistic nuances. On Suns of Cosmic Consciousness, original compositions are mixed with tunes by Mingus, Monk, and Sun Ra. King's "Come On even features the band's vocals, not what they do best, but colorful enough to add depth. Latin, swing, rock, and march-like rhythms seem quite natural, carefully placed in the proper context for each tune. These players consistently display a historic sensibility that belies their age.

On Bernstein's wonderful jumping opener, "Samba De Aztac, Demos uses rims and edges of the drum heads to imply timbales, while Bernstein and Amin provide the foundation and a catchy melody. On Amin's "Waltz on the Hudson, the trio is perfectly at home with a rollicking and upbeat 3/4 swing, and Bernstein provides a memorable solo. On Monk's "Rhythm-a-ning, Demos sets the tone through extensive use of toms and snare (snares off), giving the venerable standard a very fresh take. Drummers will especially enjoy the thwacks in this reading. Yamin's "Perk Up - for Walter Perkins, could easily be mistaken for another Monk tune. He employs Monk-like piano inflections to portray the melody and frame his solo—charming stuff indeed. Bernstein and Demos add solos as well.

With Yamin's "Reincarnation 1968, a pensive piano introduction leads to the addition of tabla and bass. African-inspired background vocals help delineate the melodic line. Demos adds a sax solo to one of the rock-driven alternate sections. The title perfectly describes this tune, which sounds like a '60s track from a B movie. "Love in Outer Space might be taken as accompaniment for some type of film as well. A repeating bass line provides support for floating piano lines, brushes on the kit, and percussion accents, establishing a meditative yet not too serious flavor. "In, Out, a short ballad that exudes quiet reflection, manifests the abilities of the trio in a more subtle setting and gives Bernstein another opportunity to display his solo skills.

This is another fine example of contemporary recording techniques and skilled studio work. Engineer Ted Kumpel captures the entire affair with significant care. Solar's music is portrayed in a comfortable manner well suited to the artists' individual and collective talents. An emblematic quality permeates the tunes, growing on the listener with each audition. Simply put, this is cool stuff. Highly recommended.

Visit Adam Bernstein and Eli Yamin on the web.

Track Listing: 1. Samba de Aztac; 2. Reincarnation; 3. Remember Rockefeller at Attica; 4.In, Out; 5. Waltz on the Hudson; 6. Rhythm-A-Ning; 7. Perk Up; 8. September Song; 9.Prototype for Constructive Dialogue; 10. Solar 2002; 11. Come On King; 12. Love in Outer Space.

Personnel: Eli Yamin: Piano, Vocals; Adam Bernstein: Vocals, Acoustic Bass; Andy Demos: Percussion, Drums, Tenor Saxophone, Tabla; Kate McGarry: Vocals; Jane Kelly Williams: Vocals.

Title: Suns of Cosmic Consciousness | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Aztac


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jazz Flute Traditions CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Flute Traditions
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Nerve Dance CD/LP/Track Review Nerve Dance
by John Sharpe
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Déjà Vu CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "Harlem" CD/LP/Track Review Harlem
by James Nadal
Published: August 18, 2017
Read "Keep Me Singing" CD/LP/Track Review Keep Me Singing
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 8, 2016
Read "The Good Life" CD/LP/Track Review The Good Life
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 8, 2017
Read "Just Funkin' Around" CD/LP/Track Review Just Funkin' Around
by Jeff Winbush
Published: August 5, 2017
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by John Sharpe
Published: November 11, 2016
Read "Alma Matters" CD/LP/Track Review Alma Matters
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 10, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.