I've been slow getting these latest notes out, but I have at least jotted down a few and hope to post them during the week. First one out, Other Dimensions in Music.
- Other Dimensions in Music feat. Fay Victor: Kaiso Stories (Silkheart) - Other Dimensions in Music first recorded in 1990. The core of the group have been Daniel Carter on alto and tenor saxes, flute and trumpet, Roy Campbell on trumpet, pocket trumpet, flügelhorn, and William Parker on bass plus various instruments, as well as Rashid Bakr on drums with, Hamid Drake taking over drum duties on a couple of tours. Matthew Shipp joined them on the live Times Is of the Essence Is Beyond Time (AUM Fidelity, 2000). Their music is apparently fully improvised, 'though you perhaps wouldn't realize that upon listening. And listening is the key to their interplay as well: the four men seem so attuned and attentive to what the others are doing, that even at its most ferocious moments, their music never breaks into sheer cacophony except for dramatic effect. They bring melodic lines out of each other, rather than contest for supremacy. William Parker knows his role in this setting, and sticks to it, concentrating on playing two, three or four note riffs or vamps with only the occasional shift in direction, providing both bottom and stability. Bakr's drumming is loose, and mirrors rhythmically what Carter and Campbell does melodically. At their best, when their imaginations and interplay really click -- as on 1998's Now (AUM Fidelity), a record I admittedly once may have underestimated -- ODiM create very enthralling music. On their new record, Kaiso Stories, they return to Silkheart, the Swedish label where they recorded their first record. The project is a collaboration with jazz vocalist Fay Victor, where they put music to various old kaiso -- a pre-calypso style -- lyrics. Victor's singing here is heavily accented, as one would expect in Caribbean music, and her voice is both powerful and slightly raspy. Her voice as well as her song melodies work very well with Carter and Campbell, who swirl around her lines without getting in her way. Parker provides a groovy bottom as well some push. Songs like "De Night A De Wake" snarls, while "Saltfish Refried" is much looser and lighter in tone. The lyrics are at times both angry and humorous, and political on a very human level. ODiM have conjured up some imaginative music to accompany these stories. Never stooping to jazz pastiches of calypso music, the album is instead free in spirit and purposeful in its execution, with hints of Western African and Caribbean rhythms and tones. A highly enjoyable record. 8*
* Grades are tentative, based on three or four listens, though quite often a few more. Much of the writing is done during listens, and should be considered notes more than final reviews.