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Kali Z. Fasteau with William Parker and Cindy Blackman (Flying Note 2011)

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You can tell from the beautiful prog-rockish cover that this is going to be a unique and exploratory record. Multi-instrumentalist Kali Z. Fasteau teams up with the extraordinary bassist William Parker and drummer Cindy Blackman to create a soundscape that is as unusual as it is fascinating. Playing cello, soprano saxophone and electric piano, Fasteau creates a fascinating, buzzing, swirling sound world, when combined with Parker's plucked and bowed bass and Blackman's ever-shifting drum rhythms and patterns, make for an unexpected and compelling album. I have been listening to this album a lot over the past few days, and it has an indescribable vibe to it. All three of the musicians are world travelers who have absorbed music from around the world as well has the history and culture of American jazz. What results is a strong buzzing, driving sound that seems like nothing else in improvised music at the moment. The album's title seems correct, as if Fasteau and her band mates are channeling spiritual music from beyond space and time (Sun Ra would feel right at home here, if you like Ra's unusual Strange Strings LP, you'll love this.) The music unfolds like a suite, building and developing its own celestial language, culminating in the extraordinary twenty-five minute improvisation “Ardor," which builds through many shifting and swirling fields to culminate in an extraordinary performance. This is truly an ensemble performance, the group is an integrated whole, rather than a collection of individuals. Solo space is not the key but the sound world than be created when likeminded musicians create with a singular goal in mind. An Alternate Universe—amazon.com

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This story appears courtesy of Music and More by Tim Niland.
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