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Joyce Yarrow & Jovino Santos Neto: Total Reflex

Jim Santella By

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How important is improvisation when the basis is a combination of rhythm, melody and harmony rooted in Nature? When the music reaches us as natural as a spoken message, improvisation allows the listener to interpret as he wishes. On the title track to Total Reflex Joyce Yarrow trades wordless fours with Jovino Santos Neto’s flute and piano phrases effortlessly. Overdubbed, the flute and piano offer traditional melodies while Yarrow stretches the boundaries of vocal music. Again, on "Seven Knives" the pair joins their rhythm section to express naturally. Grunts, berimbau strums, flute and piano phrases, Yarrow’s voice working as an additional wordless instrument, handclaps, hand drums, and synth bass combine to produce a setting that’s at once "world beat" and at the same time full of rhythmic jazz soul. Yarrow and Neto have written the songs for this session, but the charm is in their presentation. The same forces of Nature that are common around the world have helped shape our music. Similarly, the sounds that we call music – if left natural enough – can be understood immediately by all cultures because of this common bond. Hands on tight skin-covered drums, wordless vocals that imply no specific language, simple melodies from a small flute or string bass, and some form of simple harmony give us the cliché: "Music - The Universal Language."

"Encontrar" is the most obvious jam session surprise, since the artists trade ideas and express native thoughts. A cross between pop music, film soundtrack imagery and improvised native chanting, the session borrows occasionally from Yarrow’s poetry and forces excitement in all directions at once. Yarrow and Neto work with multimedia; examples of their other work may be viewed at http://totalreflex.com . Combining jazz with other, more commonplace areas of art, Total Reflex will appeal to a wide audience all over the world.


Track Listing: Fly Through; Spring Moon; I Am the Sail; Total Reflex; Seven Knives; De Mansinho; Encontrar; Mahalo; Within Your Shadow; Ginseng.

Personnel: Joyce Yarrow- vocals, guitar; Jovino Santos Neto- piano, flute, keyboard bass & percussion, Hammond organ, melodica, synthesizer; Jeff Busch- drums & percussion; Steve Kim- bass; Hans Teuber- soprano saxophone.

Title: Total Reflex | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Total Reflex Records


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