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

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Cédric Vuille - Faire – Guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Vuille may be better known as a founder member of the Swiss Band L’Ensemble Rayé, and Debile Menthol before that. But with little to no recording activity from...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues