ASIAN BLENDS…David Lopato: Gendhing For A Spirit Rising, Billy Drewes: Under One Sun

Western jazz teams with sounds from afar…

This ambitious 2 disc set features David Lopato in a pair of different settings. He himself plays  piano along with a plethora of instrumetns such as vitual violin, sampled zither, marimba and various other percussion pieces with the first band of William Moersch/mar-vib, Erik Friedlander/cel, Ratzo harris/b, Mark Perlman/perc, Tom Rainy-Michael Sarin/dr, Marty Ehrilch/sax and other guests on an exotic four part journey. The longest pieces is a 20 minute journey “Gendhing” which has Asian textures supplied by Javanese revab and kendhang along with chiming percussion the floats like a haze, while “This Life” is the most jazz of these pieces with Mark Feldman and Marthy ehrlich suppliying post bop harmonies. Some lovley piano and strings create a modern sonata on “Jalan Jiway” while warm strings team with marimba andvibes on the hovering “Ladrang.”

The second disc is a more traditional post bop outing, as Lopat sticks to  piano with Lucas Pino/cl, Bill Ware/vib, Michael Sarin/dr, Ratzo Harris/b and John Hadfield/perc going fairly free form on “Ambush and Aftermath” and supplying a gentle military cadence for Lopato’s gentle piano on “Peace March.” Both Beboppin’ With Bella” and “Jakshi” open with lithe Middle Eastern sonorities before veering into exciting swing. Modern, world wide and intriguing all throughout.

Billy Drewes plays sax, clarinet and flute on this mix of Indian and Western sounds.With Jamey Addad/dr-perc, Roberto Occhipinti/b, Ali Paris/voc-qanun, Salar nader/tab, Luisito Quintero/cong-timb, Leo Blnco/p, Micael Ward-Bergeman/acc and various guests on horns, voice and percussion. The music is tied together by a floating groove created by the plethora of percussion, with Drewes’ tenor calm on the jazzy South Asian “Portait of“ and the ballad “High Above” while the complex Ode to Brigadooon” includes rich trumpet work from Olivia Pidi and Wyeth Aleksei. Sounds akin to vintage Oregon are evoked with soprano sax on the genteel “Home on the Hill” and Bergeman’s accordion creates a mystical atmosphere on “Oh Maey.” Nothing sounds gimmicky here, and the music has a rich organic wholeness to it.



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