Thursday, August 30, 2012

Quadro Nuevo Grand Voyage Justin Time 2012

World Music occasionally gets a bad rap and undeservedly so. Traditionally speaking "World Music" is normally one note about one culture be it African poly rhythms or Argentinian or even Asian influences - but rarely together. Till now...

Quadro Nuevo's appropriately titled Grand Voyage will street on September 11th 2012. Three years in the making this marvelous release is unbelievably steeped in the textures and sonic flavors and influences from the Balkans, Turkey, and Korea to name but a few into their decidedly European flavored improvisational music. The end result is the musical equivalent of going on holiday while never leaving your living room.

Grand Voyage is actually a sonic autobiography of their travels through the many exotic locales mentioned as they seek out new sounds to both experience and then share with their many fans having formed back in 1996. Expect the unexpected here. Sadly their adventures were not all fun and games as original member Robert Wolf was paralyzed in a car accident in 2008. Harpist Evelyn Huber promptly joined the ensemble adding another layer of texture to this wildly imaginative ensemble cast. Wolf gives a inspiring performance on the melancholy jazz standard "Nature Boy." Wolf also shows the virtuosity the group is famous for by playing the Turkish bouzouki on "Antakya."

Huber makes significant contributions on tunes such as the tango flavored tone poem "Die Reise Nach Batumi" and the beautiful Portuguese ballad "Cancao Do Mar." Mulo Francel adds an all most three dimensional depth of flavor with his bass clarinet work on "Samba Para Parapente." D.D. Lowka much in the same vein as his compatriots acts as the harmonic glue with the ability to go from a variety of hand percussion instruments to upright bass. Andreas Hinterseher is a first rate accordion and bandoneon player who adds just the right amount of tango and French influences to make this a World Music release that reveals something new with each subsequent spin of the disc.

While referring to this release as jazz gumbo would be a slight over generalization, the influences from their music include Asian, Middle Eastern and even Mexican with seamless transitions from one tune to the next. An incredibly impressive release, colorful and what musical joy may best sound like when captured in the appropriate setting.

Tracks: Die Reise nach Batumi; Cancao do Mar; Cien Anos; Krim; Samba para Parapente; Aus der Stille der Nacht; Nature Boy; Die Abenteurer; Lethe; Antakya; Meteora; Secret Garden; Mosaique Tunisienne: Morning-Afternoon-Night; Goaz boq Muzik; Dopo lo Spettacolo; Die Reise nach Batumi.

Personnel: Mulo Francel: saxophones, clarinets, mandoline, glockenspiel, monochord, guitar (6), bouzouki (11); Robert Wolf: guitar, bouzouki, piani (17), steel drum; D.D. Lowka: acoustic bass, percussion, xylophone, cymbalom; Andreas Hinterseher: accordion, vibrandoneon, bandoneon, piano (4); Evelyn Huber: concert grand harp, single pedal harp, salterio.