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Naxos Jazz

Lan Xang - Hidden Gardens - Import CD

Lan Xang - Hidden Gardens - Import CD

CD

Jazz

Contemporary Jazz

February 24, 2000

Album

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Catalog No.: 86046

JAN/ISBN: 747313604623

Number of Discs: 1

Country/Region of Manufacture: Import

Credits:

Lan Xang

Description:

Named after a 14th-century Laotian/Mekong Valley kingdom, this quartet of younger improvisers do not so much base their music on Asian themes, though they do crop up here and there. The composed and improvised music is thoroughly modern, rich, and accessible, and made tuneful by saxophonists Donny McCaslin (tenor/soprano) and Dave Binney (alto). Bassist Scott Colley and drummer Kenny Wolleson provide the rhythmic landscapes and frameworks on which the saxes paint figures of drama, color, passion, and stark realism. Binney wrote perhaps the most potent pieces. Electronic landscape textures intro and outro "The Restless Many" with beautiful, sad dual alto/tenor sax crying out in the middle. A pure bluesy, soulful, loping horn line informs the outstanding "Free to Dream," which builds to good intensity without completely erupting. McCaslin's flute leads the meditational snippet "Incurable Dreaminess." As a composer, McCaslin really asserts himself with Lan Xang. His alternately supercharged and staggered boppish chart for "Trinity Place" leads to free dissonance. Heavy, hip, highly arranged, and funky is "Mode Four," while a cleverly constructed and tricky 12/8 (or three repeated measures of 4/4) services the funky and intense title cut. A cerebral "Parting...From a View" sports toned-down, late-night sounds. Colley contributes two selections: "Segues" is a nine-note unison setup in bop mode replete with psychotrophic sampled voices and crackling percussion, and "Gradual Impulse" is a bass/drum extended funk. There's also a continuation of the "Xang" concerto with segments six through 11, ranging from McCaslin's Asian-flavored flute with percussion and desert wind sounds to bird fluttered trilling, insistent bus horn honking to tense free chaos, scatter shot improv, and an obvious space-probe piece. The creative juices of Lan Xang collectively flow from start to finish on this continually intriguing, cliche-free recording. Highly recommended for progressive music listeners. ~ Michael G. Nastos

Tracklisting:

1.The Restless Many
2.Trinity Place
3.Xang Six
4.Segues
5.Mode Four
6.Incurable Dreaminess
7.Hidden Gardens
8.Xang Seven
9.Xang Eight
10.Gradual Impulse
11.Parting... From a View
12.Xang Nine
13.Free to Dream
14.Xang Ten
15.Xang Eleven

Lan Xang Collection List

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