CLEVER! Forro in the Dark: Plays Zorn, Church of Betty: Swirled World

Here are a couple of bands that are creating some clever sounds outside the normal realm, looking both back and forward.

Forro in the Dark consists of Jorge Continentino/reeds-winds, Guilherme Monteiro/g, Mauro Refosco/perc and Rea Mochiach/b-perc along with a handful of guests vocalists and musicians on this collection of pieces from the pen of John Zorn. While known for playing a bit on the outside of the norm, Zorn’s music here is presented in a fun and quite accessible fashion. You get some easy bohemia on “Novato” while some Dick Dale hang ten sounds are at the hands of Monteiro’s guitar on “Sunset Surfer.” Brazilia from ’66 feels good on “Shaolin Bossa” and hints of a James Bond chase theme will run through your mind on the Middle Eastern influenced “Zavebe.”  Spacey  sounds whirl around on “The Quiet Surf” and even a hint of Jethro Tull gets you living in the past on “Life Is Real Only Then When “I Am.” Lots of good sounds and vibes here.

The congregation in The Church of Betty consists of Chris  R ael/g-g-sit-voc, Brian Glener/dr, Chris Cochrane/g, Claire de Brunner/bassoon, along with a parachurch group that includes a string section and guest vocalists with percussionists. Some of the songs have an acoustic guitar groove that is reminiscent of Led Zeppelin III, as Rael sings along on “Ever Deeper” “Endure” and “Muse.” Some interesting world sound form a raga with sitar leading the way on “Wake Up” while straightahead boogie on the guitar gets cooking on “Swirled World.”Central Asian sounds come across as well on”I Remember You” as the band gallops to the finish line like the run of the bulls on “Paella.” Clever mix of sounds and countries.

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