Friday, February 6, 2009

Way Out West - Old Grooves In New Streets (Jazzhead, 2007) ***½

World jazz is fun, if it sounds authentic, when the musicians add something new, some new perspectives, new melodies, new rhythms, leading to some fresh insights and surprises, and yes, some new musical wealth. Australian trumpeter Peter Knight assembled a band from various backgrounds, with Dung Nguyen on guitar, but also on a 16-stringed Vietnamese zither (the dan tranh), and the dan bau (a single stringed instrument also called the monochord), with Ray Perreira on percussion, Paul Williamson on sax, Howard Cairns on bass, and Dave Beck on drums. "Old Grooves For New Streets 2", is the part which falls the most within the expectations, a funky, percussion-driven piece, with a slow theme by the horns, and with some great soloing on top. It's fun, but the real good parts are the ones which fall beyond the expected idioms. "Old Grooves For New Streets 3", brings nervous percussion as the lead instrument, with very nervous repetitive arpeggio-ed guitar in the background, and with a slow compelling theme by the horns. The album starts with "Postcard From Footscray", with an intro by Nguyen's zither, leading the song on into some sentimental trumpet over nice Brazilian rhythms. The highlight of the record is the second piece, "Old Grooves For New Streets 1", on which Dung Nguyen shines on his "dan bau", sounding quite middle-eastern really, a genre which seems to fit Williamson's sax well too, who steers the piece into some controlled paroxysm, leading to a percussion solos finale. "Café Afrique", is as its title suggests the most African piece, with again nice solos by the trumpet and the sax. The CD ends in sheer beauty, with the Vietnamese string instruments and the trumpet playing some bluesy melancholy piece. Not ground-breaking, but really nice music.

Listen and download/buy from CDBaby.

© stef

1 comment:

DaveBerson said...

that's what i'm lookin for. greez from new jersey!