Track review of "Three Views from Chicheng Precipice (after Bai Juyi)"
Seattle-based guitarist Dennis Rea discloses a 360-degree U-turn, contrasting his work with the hemi-powered progressive rock and jazz fusion bands, Iron Kim Style and Moraine. Rea's Asian-derived fusionof rock, avant-garde, Asian folk and Western classical conceptsspawns a translucent and rather kaleidoscopic genre-busting sequence of musical events.
The album opener "Three Views from Chicheng Precipice (after Bai Juyi)," establishes Rea's distinct Asian paradigms, integrated with percussion, strings, woodwinds and off-kilter metrics. He incorporates a myriad of tonal contrasts into his writing, and intersperses dashes of blues and rock into the slightly humble overtones. With textural treatments and his airy, ethereal and distortion-laced lines, the guitarist reformulates the primary melody throughout, and helps finalize the piece with fuzz-toned phrasings, in unison with the strings section. Having spent time in Asia, Rea's insightful interpretations of Asian music is broadly morphed into a nouveauand largely, fascinatingprogram.
Personnel: Dennis Rea: electric and resonator guitars, melodica, Naxi jaw harp, kalimba, dan bau (Vietnamese monochord); Alicia Allen: violin; Greg Campbell: drums, percussion; Ruth Davidson: cello; James Dejoie: bass flute, bamboo flute, bass clarinet; Caterina De Re: voice; Stuart Dempster: trombone, conch shell; Will Dowd: drums, percussion; Elizabeth Falconer: koto; John Falconer: shakuhachi; Jay Jaskot: drums; Paul Kikuchi: percussion; Kevin Millard: baliset.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.