Azigza — From X to Y
(Lionharp, 2002, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2003-02-01This three-song CD is intended as a sort of preview of Azigza’s upcoming full-length release, which should be out sometime in 2003, hopefully before too late in the year. I first heard this San Francisco band when they played in the lobby of a festival in 1999, and it is amazing how far they have progressed. At that time they were working with Gong “space whisperer” Gilly Smith, and their mixture of world percussion and catchy grooves showed promise, if not exactly polish. Vocal chores are now handled by Cyoakha Grace, a very strong singer who provides long drifting melodies over pulsing percussion and the interlocking riffs of guitar, violin, and bass. Track one, “X,” starts right off with a dramatic flourish very reminiscent of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, then drops down for a loping riff in 9/4, with Kevin Evans’s guitar and Aryeh Frankfurter’s violin accompanied by a number of percussion instruments. Later on, a very edgy guitar solo (Evans, I think, though Frankfurter also plays guitar) builds the energy up to quite a peak, and the rhythmic base slyly shifts among a number of meters. “Yaman” starts with a low, quiet drone and Indian-sounding violin, and works slowly to a nice unison melody between the violin, electric guitar, and a harp. Tablas and other drums back a graceful vocal verse, and six minutes later, the tempo doubles for a rousing climax. The only negative on this is that it’s way too short. Finish the album son, you hear?
Related artist(s): Azigza
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