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Thursday, July 13, 2023

Ian Dogole – Quinta Essentia (Global Fusion Music, 2022)

By Matty Bannond

Ian Dogole is from Philadelphia – but his musical passions unfurl far beyond the City of Brotherly Love. Early inspiration from Philly luminaries like Sun Ra and John Coltrane led the percussionist to explore traditions and instruments from across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America. His latest album, Quinta Essentia, is an uplifting tale of wide-ranging sonic adventure.

Seven musicians adopt fresh constellations for each track. Dogole’s contributions are spread across thirteen instruments. Richard Howell and Sheldon Brown take turns with tenor and soprano saxophones, while Howell also sings and Brown unpacks his bass clarinet. Fred Randolph features on double bass, with Frank Martin on piano and synthesizer. And the album also includes Henry Hung on trumpet, Moses Sedler on cello and Yassir Chadly on vocals and gimbri.

A couple of tracks serve up fairly standard contemporary jazz fare. A quintet huddles around a fanfaring melodic statement for the opening track, Togo. There’s a pink-panther-ish undercurrent for 'Reflections by the Bay Window.' These straight-ahead moments are suffused with a strong magnetic charm thanks to the tightly double-helixed intertwining of Dogole’s percussion and Randolph’s bass.

'Svoboda' is stripped down to just cello and kalimba – a finger-plucked instrument with a wooden soundboard and metal keys that originates in Southern Africa. The track has a stop-start feeling, with bowed long notes and fitful bubbling from the kalimba. It feels loaded with top-of-the-hill gravity, peaceful yet precarious and threatening to roll over the edge.

Yassir Chadly carries the sound in another direction for 'Nubian Dreams.' The Moroccan-American’s rich voice dances over the deep, contemplative sound of his gimbri – a three stringed, skin-covered bass-plucked lute from North Africa. Perhaps the freest improvisation can be found on 'Quince y Quatro,' where Howell explores open spaces above the sound of Dogole’s sundrum, a circular and tunable marimba made of wood that is derived from the Cora, Mbira and balafon.

The inventive spirit of Dogole’s percussion gives the album a joyous and self-surprised feeling. Quinta Essentia provides a bright, unpredictable and cross-cultural experience. Its diversity of contributors, instruments and ideas transports listeners around the globe – via the birthplace of cheese-steaks and Rocky Balboa. Go Birds.

The album is available as a digital download here.

1 comments: said...

Discovering new music and genres is a delightful journey. Buying physical formats adds a tangible connection to the artistry, providing a more intimate and nostalgic way to appreciate the depth and beauty of the music.