5

Chasm: Wood Wind & Skin

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
Chasm: Wood Wind & Skin
When Mark Esakoff and Michael Whipple began collaborating in 1987, they focused their sound on the resonance of three sources: Wood (claves, marimbas, etc.), wind (flute, recorder, etc.) and skin (nylon strings, congas, etc.). Although their first four releases expanded their sound into metallic, electronic and other timbres, this fifth release honors the Wood, Wind & Skin purity of their early founding days.

In Chasm, Esakoff's primary voices are nylon string guitar and marimba (which he professes to play like a "log drum piano"), and Whipple's are flute, keyboards and drums. Whipple also plays bass and percussion and sings on Wood, Wind & Skin, while Esakoff adds luitars (lute-guitars), ukuleles, bass and vocals.

Esakoff and Whipple are both natives of Ventura (California). This might not at first seem relevant, but if you've hiked through sunlit mountains, there's a good chance you'll recognize the sound, vision and (especially) the feel of Wood, Wind & Skin. After the reverential two-minute introduction "Praying for Rain," the music skips easy and carefree into the warm "Sideways Sunshine" and then tumbles into the bright and pretty "Look at Her Glow."

"Arctic Crossing" turns much more cold and brittle and seems to float frozen in space, suspended by arching strings, until quick and sharp guitar notes pierce its static sound like icy needles of frozen rain. "Inner Jungle" turns even darker and more mysterious: A cymbal keeps anxious time while percussion slithers and rattles out from shadows and bass builds a Middle Eastern mood, then a solitary horn rises up like Yusef Lateef to scan the horizon for eastern sounds and leading the music into a whirling Arabic dance.

It's surprising to find a tune by heavy metal monster gods Black Sabbath in the midst of such sweetness and light, but Chasm find and magnify the beauty in "Laguna Sunrise," a melodic pause co-written by all four Sabbath members for their sprawling 1972 double-vinyl Vol. 4. It's a great reminder of how the gentleness and simplicity of Wood, Wind & Skin almost disguises the instrumental dexterity and profound connection between Mark Esakoff and Michael Whipple. Almost disguises, but not quite.

Track Listing

Praying for Rain; Sideways Sunshine; Look at Her Glow; Strange Currents; On a Lark; Mountains; Inner Jungle; Agua Blanca; The Memory Box; Laguna Sunrise; Element People; Arctic Crossing; The Silence Between the Words.

Personnel

Mark Esakoff: various; Michael Whipple: various.

Album information

Title: Wood Wind & Skin | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Self Produced

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Tales From The Jacquard
Julian Siegel Jazz Orchestra
Dreamer
Pamai Chirdkiatisak
Music Room 1985
Wayne Krantz
Tumaini
Berta Moreno Afro-Jazz Soul Project
Stories
Roni Ben-Hur
Prometheus
Nikol Bókóva
Thunda
Noah Preminger

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.