Dewa Budjana — Surya Namaskar
(Moonjune MJR063, 2014, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-04-05
Indonesian guitarist Dewa Budjana has adopted a much more loose and improvisational style on his seventh solo endeavor (and his third for Moonjune), much of which was recorded in Los Angeles in January and October 2013. The eight cuts on Surya Namaskar are full of surprises with each new spin, and after at least a couple dozen plays I’m still in awe of what’s gone down in these sessions. Having master fretless bassist Jimmy Johnson (who hasn’t he played with?) and former Zappa drummer Vinnie Colaiuta on board as his primary sidemen certainly doesn’t hurt, as Budjana easily rises to match their level of mastery. Even Allan Holdsworth’s keybord player Gary Husband is guesting on the opening track “Fifty,” and Michael Landau shares the guitar spotlight on the album’s title track. Three additional players are featured on Sundanese (Western Java) harp and violin, and vocals, on the Indonesian flavored “Kalingga,” where Budjana plays a heavily fuzzed and sitar effected guitar before launching out into a more conventional jazz idiom, then alternating back, bridging his ethnic traditions to western styles on the album’s most unique cut. The closer, “Dalem Waturenggong,” in another similar bridge of traditional and jazz, but only involves the core trio. Every track here is fully composed and arranged by Budjana, and more than anything this time he is offering a more spontaneous and uninhibited approach to playing, which is a marked difference from the two previous Moonjune releases Dewai in Paradise and Joged Kahyangan which tended to be a bit more restrained, though technically and artistically excellent. For anyone not yet familiar with Budjana, Surya Namaskar is the place to start.
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more