Wednesday, December 26, 2012
2 x 2 To The New Year
The quartet explores the 12 original pieces with grace, fire, wit, and emotional intensity, displaying intuitive interaction throughout. Bakir continues to mine the music he heard as a young person growing up in Ankara - he blends Turkish folk melodies into pieces such as "East West" with its rubato opening that leads to a hearty guitar solo. After a short break for several rock chords, the band drops into a rocking groove (perhaps their interpretation of the "West" in the title.) Yet, there are also songs built off of chords that reflect the influence of Pat Metheny and John Abercrombie - one can hear that on driving pieces such as "Up" and the sweet title track. Other works stand out for the band's original approach like the handsome ballad "Dreams", with Kneeland's forceful bass work and Byrd's lyrical solo. When Bakir enters, the song resembles George Harrison's "Something." Bakir's solos are impressive throughout but, to these ears, he saves his best for last. "Kites (for Don)" begins as a reverie for piano and guitar, with a straight-forward single-note melody that continues to expand as the guitarist moves forward and the rhythm section enters.
"Tales & Stories" is head-and-shoulders above Sinan Bakir's impressive debut CD. His melodies are stronger, his playing more varied and assured plus the addition of Byrd gives the pieces more emotional weight. Just let these sounds wash over you; good music can excite and soothe and this is good music. For more information, go to www.sinanbakir.com.
Turner's fine trumpet stands out of "Path of a Smile" as does the strong melodic turn from bassist Lachance (excellent drum support beneath him as well.) The lullaby-like ballad "You Will Be Loved Again" (from the Canadian composer Mary Margaret O'Hara) is the prettiest work in the program, a slow, dreamy, song with country harmonies. In her notes, Ms. Lee mentions both Canadian playwright and librettist Tom Cone as well as drummer/vocalist Levon Helm (both of whom passed in 2012) as influences on this music. One can hear shades of The Band in the lovely "End Waltz" (the guitar work is ethereal).
"Invitation" invites the listener to a world where sound, melody, harmony and expression is displayed in myriad ways. Rom Samworth's 12-string guitar solo on "Little Pieces" has a West African feel, abetted by the horn interjections while "Not So Far" opens with noise such as scraping guitars, bows hitting cellos and drums interjections before one guitar begins a lovely chord progression and, slowly, a melody rises out of the background. "Warming" closes the program on a bluesy note with a fine guitar solo, a melodic horn arrangement ahead of and beneath the short trumpet solo and an insistent rhythm.
The previous CD by The Peggy Lee Band (2008's "New Code", also on Drip Audio) introduced listeners to a band that seems to have infinite capabilities and "Invitation" proves the earlier recording was no fluke. Ms. Lee does not hog the spotlight, blending her rich cello tone in with the horns or rising above the twin guitars. Take your time with this music and you will be richly rewarded.
To hear "Your Grace", click on the following link: