Thursday, May 29, 2014

Tom Chang Tongue & Groove 2014

A thoroughly engaging debut release that speaks well for guitarist Tom Chang!
Brent Black /
Every fiber in my being told me that I would not dig this release. Specifically, I do not believe the harmonic flow of Indian music makes a reasonable transition to the more western improvisational music we refer to as jazz. A harmonic disconnect...not this time! Tongue and Groove is both a cultural and lyrical mosaic of sound carefully nuanced where melodic lines are blurred and the cerebral approach is seemingly left up to both the musicians and listeners. Jazz, some assembly required.
Tongue & Groove creates a nuanced motion of sound moving effortlessly from western improvisation to more contemporary classical and a rare look at the harmonic balance of Southern Indian classical influences. A unique artistic vision is the end result more so than yet another sub genre or hybrid whose label lacks true meaning or embraces the artistic journey that Chang and his co-conspirators lay down. While some of Chang's contemporaries push the somewhat pretentious odd metered envelope, Tom Chang takes a more zen like cerebral approach. Something is happening, it is different. You figure it out.
Layered rhythms. The land of rhythm and groove with a global twist. To speak of individual tracks on a debut release is somewhat pointless. To praise a first rate band rounded off with a rhythm section of drummer Gerald Cleaver and bassist Chris Lightcap is not. Joining Chang on the front line are alto saxophonist Greg Ward and tenor ace Jason Rigby. Akshay Anatapadmanabhan handles the kanjira and mridangam. Subash Chandran takes care of the konnakol. Together this collective offer one of the cerebral looks at the possibilities of improvisational music in some time.
Tracks: Spinal Tap / Goes To 11; Djangolongo; Variations for Piano Op. 27; Sleepwalker; Tongue & Groove; Scatterbrain; Bar Codes; The Logos; Entangoed Heart; Spinal Tap Tk. 2
Check it out for yourself at: