111

Ensemble Elektra: The Book of Time

By

Sign in to view read count
Ensemble Elektra: The Book of Time To say that world jazz fusion violinist Elektra Kurtis comes from several different backgrounds is like saying Jay Leno has “a bit of a chin.” Ms. Kurtis has been born in, raised by people from, or lived in various diverse areas such as Greece, Egypt, America, Finland, and Poland – and you can bet that she uses this musical diversity to her advantage on Ensemble Elektra’s latest release, The Book of Time. The CD truly seems like a multi-cultural extension of Elektra herself, and a mostly interesting one at that.

Elektra put together the Ensemble Elektra apparently by scouring the planet for people with hyphenated cultural backgrounds such as Greek-Egyptian, Greek-Cypriot, African-American, and so on. Fortunately, most the musicians she chose put in an excellent performance for The Book of Time - especially considering the complexity of Elektra’s compositions. The tracks range from the almost mainstream pop of the title cut, to what could only be described as a Greek reggae jazz trip called “Mangas.” The main star of the show is Elektra’s violin playing, which is rich in Greek flavoring and is very effective as a lead instrument. Other standout performances come from clarinetist Lefteris Bournias who just WAILS on a track called “A Etos”, and guitarist Tasos Stylianou who serves up some tasty licks on the track “Sad & Happy.” Not to be left out, drummer Reggie Nicholson really busts loose on “Nine for Kurtis,” where he hijacks the tune for a little while do so some damage to the skins.

There are a few low points on the CD, one of which is the track “Sad & Happy” which frankly would be more at home in a fancy nightclub than on a jazz record. Despite the nice bass and guitar work on the track, I couldn’t help but mentally count “1... 2... CHA CHA CHA” when I listened to this cut. Also, the vocals on the final track “Dream” had me rushing to the phone to dial 911, as it sounded like someone was perishing inside of my stereo.

These minor problems are the exception to the rule however, and for the most part the CD is full of remarkable songs and musicianship. Ensemble Elektra’s The Book of Time is not only innovative, but for the most part it is very entertaining as well. Elektra Kurtis’ compositional ability to fuse together so many different types of music and have it sound natural is quite remarkable. I hope Ms. Kurtis continues her adventurous sonic spirit well into the future.


Title: The Book Of Time | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: For 4 Ears


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Unnatural  Events CD/LP/Track Review Unnatural Events
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by James Nadal
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Clean CD/LP/Track Review Clean
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 15, 2017
Read Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations CD/LP/Track Review Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 15, 2017
Read "New Jazz Standards, Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review New Jazz Standards, Volume 2
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 8, 2017
Read "Flux" CD/LP/Track Review Flux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "As If By Magic" CD/LP/Track Review As If By Magic
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: December 3, 2016
Read "Where the Blue Begins" CD/LP/Track Review Where the Blue Begins
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 7, 2017
Read "I Just Did Say Something" CD/LP/Track Review I Just Did Say Something
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 27, 2016
Read "Concert Of The Century" CD/LP/Track Review Concert Of The Century
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: August 10, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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