For a bit of commentary on Andreas Georgiou's wherewithal, refer to the review of Modus Vivendi (here), a release concentrating heavily on his gifts as a guitarist. This release, Jua Ni Juu, reveals his facility in ensemble work with fellow masters Eberhard Weber and Paul McCandless. Weber is responsible for one of the landmarks of chamber jazz, the incomparable Colors of Chloes on the pristine ECM label, and McCandless was a founding member of the seminal world music group Oregon, another ECM staple. If its not already obvious, the point is that once you've made it to the estimable Editions of Contemporary Music, there's nowhere else to go, you've reached the top, and, to be honest, this disc is worthy of immediate induction into that nirvana.
Jua Ni Juu vividly recalls the wild, woolly, heady days of Manfred Eicher's earliest masterpieces, the times when Keith Jarrett, Ralph Towner, John Abercrombie, Jan Garbarek, Terje Rypdal, and a panoply of others were busy fusing the folk, classical, jazz, and progressive genres into a new music form. Jua is musically literate in the stratospheric sense and can't help but evoke a step backwards to when the barriers-breaking spirit of the 60s and 70s still infected the arts, a time when quality and intelligence were hallmarks, not coincidences. Georgiou's guitar work here is fulsome and atmospheric while McCandless turns in one of his most arresting performances outside Oregon, Weber accompanying both with a melodically equal-tempered bass demonstration.
Mark Walker turns in an infinitely engaging session on drums and percussion, a combination of Jack DeJohnette, Jon Christensen, and Jeff Williams (Dave Liebman's old sticksman) in a rare example of exactly why drums shouldn't be merely the metronomic adjunct of an ensemble—in the hands of a visionary, they partner equally in the musical conversation. What's most surprising, though, is Georgiou's turn to the electric guitar in the middle of Jua a Furaha, a rock-fundamented solo that finds its closest contemporary in the Sky releases (featuring John Williams and Kevin Peek) as it welds Fripp with Santana and Abercrombie.
The four cuts here are orgies of artistic imagination and Renaissance entablature, long tapestries of old and new country vistas, spirited pastorales acting like opium dreams for the listener fortunate enough to run across them. If you've been longing for the good old days when you could hardly wait for the next ECM release, the age when the label wasn't enmeshed in weird business contretemps and screwed by pelican-brained imbeciles among the functionaries, then that longing is now fulfilled, here, in this and the many other CDs being issued by Andreas Georgiou.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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