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

2019-08-20
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

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Seven That Spells - Cosmoerotic Dialogue with Lucifer – Is it a dialogue or one-way harangue? That's what you might ask emerging from this full-bore psychedelic freak-out of ferocious proto-metal fighting to stay alive (or conscious) against some...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues