Exposé Online banner

Tom Chang — Tongue & Groove
(Raw Toast, 2014, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2014-11-22

Tongue & Groove Cover artHere we have an album by a jazz guitarist that features Indian percussion, but takes a completely different path than John McLaughlin with Shakti. This is more of a jazz recording that features Indian elements (including rhythmic ideas); in addition to the guitar, two saxophones provide melodic elements and solos. The saxes, by Greg Ward and Jason Rigby (alto and tenor, respectively), are utilized well, often with interlocking counter-melodies rather than harmonizing with each other — at times I was reminded a little of Steve Coleman's music. Chris Lightcap plays acoustic bass, giving the proceedings a spacious underpinning in conjunction with Gerald Cleaver's drums. Percussionists Askshay Anantapadmanabhan (kanjira and mridangam) and Subash Chandran (konnakol vocal persussion) are not present on all tracks, but when they are, they fit right in. As for Tom Chang's guitar playing, the last time I was so impressed by my first hearing of a guitarist was Timothy Young in Dylan Ryan's Sand. The first track here is called "Spinal Tap / Goes to 11," so you know he's not an old-school jazz guy. But neither is he a flashy fusion player, but more along the lines of Bill Frisell, Nels Cline, and the previously mentioned Timothy Young. His rhythm lines are jagged and unpredictable, full of tasty touches of dissonance, volume-pedal swells, and whammy-bar dizziness. Even on "Bar Codes," which has a strong basis in blues, he comes up with inventive and delightfully strange lines. Another testimony to his originality is the single cover on the album: Anton Webern's "Variations for Piano Op. 27" — that's not something you encounter every day! Tongue & Groove is one of the finest jazz guitar releases of the year, and sets a high bar for Chang to top on his next recording.

Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): Tom Chang

Latest news

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Bass Gang - Evasioni, Fughe & La Contrabbassatta – Alberto Pocini is a double-bass player from Italy who's played extensively in his homeland as well as with the London Symphony Orchestra. Pocini's After Genesis project attests to his varied musical...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues