Moonjune Rec. Dennis Rea : Views from Chicheng Precipice
Denis Rea was part of the Asian scene during a period when new crossover forms were thoroughly about to become established after some serious considerations (1989-1993), he continued providing cooperation towards all what was needed to know about modern jazz, rock and improvisation. Denis just finished a book called “Live at the Forbidden City: Musical Encounters in China and Taiwan”resuming what happened. This album perhaps can be seen as its musical equivalent, a result of inspirations into musical forms of jazz-improvisation blending Asian scales, traditions and influences into a new form of jazz fusion that wasn't tried before too often, at least not on this scale.
The albums starts in the first track as an Asian chamber music-improvisation, where the electric guitar while using different techniques leads a few different interpretations of some eastern themes and playing before also drums come in and electric parts are added. On the second track you can hear how there is a subtle improvisational area created where improvisations on acoustic guitar combine perfectly with flutes (remember Kwartet Jorgi from Poland). The third track is a combination of Chinese chamber-folk-rock with edges towards rock-fusion, with improvisations led by electric guitar and violin or the orchestra.
On the last two tracks the improvisational techniques are expanded and liberated with fitting colours before they return to the eastern setting. The fourth track has more improvisation, with visually expressive vocals edging towards free music still showing at first its rooted starting point of an eastern music frame, then is like visually colouring Chinese wallpapers with rich expressions of sound-based ideas, imitating landscapes and life from within a certain space. Here this environment is performed by experimental metallic and slide guitar sounds and such. This changes into a more eastern sounding improvisation on percussion, and then flute, like an eastern opera or theatre band, with some interesting interaction of guitar amongst eastern instruments, and a duet improvisation with some Chinese string instrument before concluding and returning to the completing picture of an eastern sounding band.
Dennis Rea's ideas with his band members, recorded over a three year span can be considered as an ode which is a dedication as much towards tradition as to creativity of a self-renewing culture.
PS. Also the latest Moraine shows great vision over a Chinese melody. Review next->
Moonjune Rec. Moraine : Metamorphic Rock (US,2011)****
This new album by Moraine (one of the bands with Dennis Rhea) is a live recording showing a well rehearsed/skilled band playing in the middle of jazzrock and composed new rock styles. The band of musicians work well together in that each of them cohesively push the music to greater levels of energy, with the electric guitars (Dennis Rhea), the melodic fusion of the electric violin on top (Alicia DeJoie), the baritone sax (James DeJoie), the 8-string bass-stick (Kevin Millard) and drumming (Stephen Cavit) as if a few more members are present. Moraine never becomes too intellectual because of this jazz-rock ability of improvising. My favourite track remains what they have done with the help of Dennis' visions and experience in Chinese music, with that Chinese (or Naxi) traditional tune on “Disoriental Suite”. The album ends with adding the rock energy to the top to conclude the concert with. Well recorded and well conceived.