FAME Review: Dave Sharp's Secret 7 - Worlds
Dave Sharp's Secret 7 - Worlds


Dave Sharp's Secret 7

Vortex Jazz Recordings - VJR1970

Available from iTunes.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Though Dave Sharp toured with the Melvins (!!!), he's heavily into the jazz, mid-Eastern, African, and Indian modes, and Worlds is a highly synthesized conglomerate of all that integrated into a complex fusiony Smooth Jazz format that's sometimes akin to what L. Subramaniam and others were doing in the past. I'm not sure who or what the Secret 7 is, as the ensemblage ranges from trio to octet, as shown in the song credits, even though a septet is named in the Bonus Tracks listings. Confusing. Nevertheless, what Worlds showcases is precisely what it and its Gaian cover allude to: World fusion music (though I think the Velokovskian worlds-colliding interior painting would've made a much more spectacular frontispiece).

Sherehe blends trad and modern African modalities in a highly attractive upbeat mélange, Andre Frappier displaying nimble fingers on guitar as Chris Kaercher and Walter White provide communal horns back-and-front sections. Rain Raga, on the other hand, presents a groundedly spacey chant by Parthiv Gohil, Eenor's multiplicit guitar work (processed guitar, baritone guitar, guitarra) gliding softly through the song as Gohil's vocals gain in passion. A rainy atmosphere is indeed invoked…and I'm still puzzling over whether the succeeding song, Dakar Detroit, is a play on words on one of my all-time fave comedy flicks, Doctor Detroit. There's no sonic parallel, but…

Sharp's bass work is more a textural constant than stand-out instrumental voice; that is, he tends to a muted presence that ceaselessly informs the placement of the rhythm section. This becomes quite apparent in Mystery Blues, again with Gohil's marvelous vocal work, now floating above a musical jungle rather than walking through the afternoon wet of Rain Raga, the bass cohering everything. Gary Schunk's piano rises to contrast Gohil, then gambol beside him, the two building to a climactic end point. The fusion element, a dominantly Western mode, balances everything here like a needle threading exotic fabrics, and Worlds does much to demonstrate what such musics should be, rather than reverting to those lazily blowsy Podunk shakuhachi CD strains you hear wafting through mall incense shops while you wonder if the guy took more than three months lessons.

Track List:

  • Sherehe (Sharp / Kaercher)
  • Nu Africa (Sharp / Kaercher / Lo)
  • Return (Sharp / Gohil)
  • Mystery Blues (Sharp / Gohil)
  • Sunrise ((Sharp / Kelly / Houwatt / Gandhi)
  • Eastern Flame (Sharp / Kaercher / Gohil / Ganhdi)
  • Desert Sky (Sharp / Kaercher)
  • Kalinjar (Sharp / Kaercher)
  • Rain Raga (Sharp / Gohil)
  • Dakar Detroit (Sharp / Lo / Jassi)
  • Nu Africa (D mix, radio edit)
  • Nu Africa (Nola mix)
  • Nu Africa (Nola mix, radio edit)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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