Tohpati — Tribal Dance
(Moonjune MJR064, 2014, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2014-07-23I really liked Tohpati's album with Ethnomission from 2010, and when the news came that he would be recording in the US with Jimmy Haslip and Chad Wackerman, I had mixed feeling. While Tohpaiti's guitar playing was a large part of that album's appeal, I really liked the Indonesian flavors imparted by the rest of the band. Would the guitarist still be as interesting in a different setting? Tribal Dance is, in many ways, a much more ordinary recording than Selamatkan Bumi, being pretty much a standard guitar/bass/drums fusion trio. The Indonesian element of the music is reduced to ambient bits that set the mood at the beginnings of several tracks, but these brief moments are key to the album's success. Certainly Tohpati deserves a place among the pantheon of great guitarists, and his compositions are top-notch as well, with a great balance of lyricism and dexterity. Haslip and Wackerman need no introduction as masters of their instruments, and they don't disappoint, infusing Tohpati's compositions with great feel and skill. Tribal Dance was almost all recorded live on a single day, so I'm assuming the keyboard-like sounds heard from time to time are triggered by the guitar, but there's no doubt that this group could show up anywhere and deliver without any help. So, while Tribal Dance may not be the revelation that Selamatkan Bumi was (that kind of lightning only strikes once), it's proof positive of Tohpati's worthiness as a world-class musician. Highly recommended for fans of intelligent jazz-rock that eschews the kind of over-the-top technical virtuosity some bands focus on, opting for a more human, but still impressive, kind of music.
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
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