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Bob Aves: Translating The Gongs

Glenn Astarita By

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Bob Aves: Translating The Gongs Filipino guitarist/composer Bob Aves is a well-traveled, multitasking artist who delves into a divergent scope of activities. The Berklee School of Music graduate subsequently ventured into film scoring and here fuses Philippine indigenous music with Western jazz.

On Translating The Gongs, Aves blends Indo-jazz with traditional Filipino folk music and mainstream jazz grooves. He's a fluid soloist when performing on his acoustic Octavina guitar, complementing up-front horns and rhythm section. As the title intimates, the music relies heavily on the integration of gongs, which percussionists use in various implementations for multihued rhythmic effects. Nonetheless, Aves' line of attack makes variable harmonic developments amid Grace Nono and Faisal Monal's emphatic vocal chants. Aves does offer genial, indigenous translations and a concise snapshot of counterbalancing styles which coalesce into a wondrously conceived series of works. It's an East meets West mindset, awash with intrigue and endearing melodies.

On "All In A Day, soprano saxophonist Dan Gill generates breezy, up-tempo lines atop a frothy ostinato motif, complemented by Aves' brisk articulation. The sum of the parts—the ensemble's sprightly unison runs, luminous swing vamps and snappy arrangements—translate into an idiosyncratic presentation. Sure enough, it imparts a lasting impression.


Track Listing: The Outsider; Midnight Sinulog; All In A Day; Dr. Binalig; The Summoner; Crossing Houses; Sa Singkang; Senyor Citizen; A Lighter Shade Of Brass.

Personnel: Bob Aves: Octavina guitar; Grace Nono & Faisal Monal: vocal chants; Dan Gil: soprano & tenor saxophone; Tony Maigue: flute & piccolo; Roger Llado: trumpet; Joey Quirino: piano; Simon Tan: acoustic bass; Koko Bermejo: drums; Bo Razon: dabakan drums & assorted percussion; Mlou Matute & Grace Bugayong: kulintang (8-gong set) & saronay (8-gong set); Karatuan Kalanduyan: gandingan (4-gong set), agong (2-gong set) & babandir gong.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Taomusic | Style: Fringes of Jazz


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