Barry Cleveland — Volcano
(Bandcamp no#, 2004, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2005-03-01
For this outing, San Francisco Bay Area guitarist Barry Cleveland has enlisted a troop of comrades in his effort to bridge the gulf between western musical idioms and those beyond these shores. Though all are characterized by rhythmic grooves derived from non-Western sources, be it African, Latin, or Middle Eastern, each of these 10 tracks takes on a unique flavor of its own. This begins with the arsenal and artistry of percussionist Michael Pluznick who (along with an occasional army of percussionists) joins Cleveland on the basic tracks, joined by bass god Michael Manring, whose work throughout is nothing less than astounding. Witness his amazing playing on the title track or the lightning fast lines on "Rhumbatism."
Cleveland's guitar provides many of the leads and textures, ranging from frisky African lines ("Makanda") to buzzing Frippian leads ("Ophidian Waves") to waves of soundscapes ("Obsidian Night"), though he never takes the spotlight exclusively for himself. Joining him on many pieces is flute and reeds wizard Norbert Stachel who delivers performances that are very jazz-informed while remaining fresh and primal. Lygia Ferra lends deeply sensual vocals to two songs, best captured in the sweaty intensity of "Dervish Circles," where she is joined by Maxwell Taylor for a performance that I'll bet left everyone reaching for a cigarette once it was over.
Though his contributions are often overshadowed by his guests (Manring especially), this is nonetheless a remarkable collection, and further establishes Barry Cleveland as one of the most creative guitarists of our time.
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more
Joel Vandroogenbroeck RIP – Word has reached us of the death of Joel Vandroogenbroeck, best known as one of the founders of Brainticket, He also recorded electronic music under a variety of names. He was born August 25th, 1938 in Brussels, Belgium and died December 23, 2019 in Arlesheim, Switzerland, aged 81. » Read more