With its fist of power, the Sonic Liberation Front asserts freedom from authority. While the group's icon might suggest some kind of militant defiance, their approach is really much more positive and focused at heart. Drummer Kevin Diehl's group brings together a variety of approaches: from interlaced Afro-Cuban percussion, to African-American swing and free jazz traditions, to post-modern adaptations of electronica. While such an unusual combination of elements might suggest cacophony or hopelessly pithy density, it's remarkably successful. The key to making this comingling of styles work is vision, and that quality is present in abundance on Water and Stone.
All of the compositions on Water and Stone rely upon a polyrhythmic foundation. The ever- shifting net of drums, shakers, and bells draws upon Santeria as well as subtle electronic looping effects. Laid atop this rhythmic fabric, organic melodies sing forth, in addition to the occasional traditional Cuban vocals. And then, when you least expect it, the mass explodes into polyphonic split-tone freedom. These bursts generate a higher level of energy, because the free jazz edge contrasts strongly with melodic anchors and interwoven rhythms. Hard to describe, hard to resist, and hard to put down: the underlying logic of the Sonic Liberation Front relies upon occupying common ground. Listeners who like their music less hard-edged would be advised to look elsewhere. But for the adventurous, Water and Stone can be an amazingly exhilarating experience in sound.
Track Listing: Ochun Loops; Uplink; Voices; Simple; Those Who Run; Water and Stone.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.