Eleven very tuneful extended World compositions compose the After Carnival release, not a one of them under 5 minutes, most over 6, and so every one of the 9 players here gets a chance to flex muscles in a sinuously cool latinate fashion. On my Way carries the echoes and extremely pleasant memories of Lonnie Liston Smith in his old Cosmic Echoes days but with a wealth of other ingredients, waxing quite fusiony in mid-stride. Though you may think otherwise, that's not a keyboard you're hearing but Matt Vashlishan, the saxist, on EWI (electronic wind instrument). Tom Lippincott wields an 8-string guitar that floats betwen heaven and earth—but mostly around the equator—Cezar Santana's nylon axe offseting it. And thank Kokopelli another vibes player has arrived: Richard Sprince, the leader of the ensemble.
Bassist Diogo Oliviera Brown keeps everything organic on fretless bass, alternatingly laid back and vigorous but ceaselessly melodic while nailing down the rhythm section with drummer Goran Rista and percussionist Dwili Dewongy. When atmospheric vocals are called for, Tony Cruz and Terezinha Valois float in behind the band, calling up memories of Pat Metheny's various groups in this form (New World Beat covers his Sueno con Mexico in closing things out but also hits Last Train Home earlier on).
This is rich, exotic, mellifluously fusiony, infectious music. I can't decide whether to get up and samba across the floor or pour a glass of ambrosia and watch the sunset. Palm trees sprang up and spectacularly hued parrots started roosting on the eaves as I opened the house windows and let the CD's refrains float out into the neighborhood. Fitting, too. It may be mid-winter but SoCal is having balmy 80-degree weather, and this is the perfect soundtrack. The neighbors occasionally pull their hair out at some of the stuff I like to play when I'm in an odd mood, but, upon hearing this, they'll be thinking "Y'know, that guy next door isn't such a strange cat after all! I wonder what we should get him for Christmas?"
It'll mix 'em up just a little, though, as the title cut hits its stride in Vashlishan's exuberant solo amid a down tempo background building and receding in the title track, After Carnival. And if my music hound buds drop by for a chat, they're sure to cock an ear and ask "Who is that? Passport? Rippingtons? Metheny? Azymuth?", but I'll just smile and hand 'em a glass of this really good malbec, suggesting that they sit, quaff, and smile as the song wends it way through myriad changes, baffling them all.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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