A young star, who has certainly risen, saxophonist Chris Speed is a tour-de-force who displays poise, enthusiasm, versatility and possesses gifted technical expertise. On “Unn”, Speed is a whirling dervish with clarinet in hand as he directs the overall melodic structures and plays traffic cop; although, the amazing bassist Skuli Sverrisson defies all odds and contributes mightily as he frequently matches Speed’s motifs and phrasing with impossible note for note unison runs. Guitarist Brad Shepik, leader of his fine band “The Commuters” along with Jim Black, one of jazz’ most prolific drummers round out this uniquely identifiable band called “Pachora”.
On “Pitta”, the group chemistry serves as a model or precursor for the style of music and interplay which showcases the amazing comprehension these fellows have for non-Western harmonies, rhythmic structures, unorthodox scales and tonal ranges. “Riff” features Jim Black’s colorful and absorbing percussion work as Sverrisson’s bass maneuvers provide the extraordinary impact yet punctuate the linear thematic developments here and throughout. “My Life Is A Nostalgia” provokes notions of “Belly-Dancers” performing at a festival somewhere in Egypt as the profound imagery hits home in enticing fashion. “My Life Is A Nostalgia” along with many of these fine compositions are gleefully tantalizing and in some respects could be considered sexy or sensual depending on one’s point of view or sense of imagination.
Pachora is not a gimmick band or a sideshow. These lads are part of jazz’ future as their individual track records and impressive modern jazz discography’s would indicate. Pachora is just another milestone for a bunch of musicians who are dynamically paving the way for a better “musical” world and the results thus far, prove beyond a doubt that they are way ahead of schedule. **** ½
Chris Speed; Clarinet: Brad Shepik; Tambura, Electric Saz, Banjar, Tres: Skuli Sverrisson; Bass, Bajo Sexto: Jim Black; Snare & Bass Drum, Dumbek, Percussion.
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