Gest 8 - Kaliedoscope
Wonderful new music from Sydney jazz collective featuring Sandy Evans, Phil Slater, Carl Dewhurst, Simon Barker, Paul Cutlan, Greg White and koto wielder Satsuki Odamura.
Gest 8 convincingly combines rhythm, horns, electronics, and koto. All numbers are originals and successfully amalgamate tra-ditional Japanese flavors with moments of freedom, African grooves, and mid-sized contemporary Jazz. All soloists are on the game, with Kotoist Satsuki Odamura perhaps the most exceptional, bringing classic Japanese virtuosity and adapting it to the music at hand.
One gets the idea that this is special music from the opening “Mosaic,” sporting a great bass koto solo and mumbling bass clarinet, then a drone motif everybody gets in on. “A Shower of Sunbeams” brings a koto-meets-African-sanza feel with a bright soprano solo by leader Sandy Evans highlighting the proceedings. The strength and power of the rhythm section comes to the fore on “The Emperor’s Old Clothes,” which has a funky bent and some whimsical horn counterpoint lines in an expanded tonality.
“Whistling at Dinner” takes on a slow swing groove and an interesting double solo by Odamuro’s koto and Dewhurst on electric guitar. By now you know anything can be happening with this group. “Kaleidoscope” confirms that with a long winding Bop-Bossa and the changes to “Giant Steps”! Cutlin’s Eb clarinet is snaky and hip and Dewhurst returns showing fleet facility negotiating these harmonies. Like the program as a whole, changes of pace give the listener a wide spectrum of flavors that the band has mastered and made their own.
I will certainly be listening to this disk for a long time to come. Unique is perhaps a too-often used word, but it applies to this CD completely. Recommended!
Grego Applegate Edward s152 | cadence | oct - nov - dec 2008