Jazz Journal

Jazz Journal review

Jazz Journal ReviewThe opener Affinity Minus One is smack in the middle of Latin territory with no evident concession to Indian music, although the intrinsic affinities between the styles – for example the preponderance of minor harmony, syncopation and modalism – seem clear. Then there’s instrumentation: perhaps the clearest common ground, tabla aside, is in McCandless’ “worldy” reeds and Montfort’s guitar, the latter emphatically designated in the notes as a “scalloped fretboard guitar,” in which wood is removed from between the frets – a device originally conceived to reduced finger friction. Here, its correspondence with the sitar, in which fretting sits well above the woodwork, might be significant. As on sitar, the absence of wood between frets would facilitate pitch bending.

The next track, Close Passage, perhaps does that very thing, opening rubato with the guitar sounding like sitar. The Indo Latin fusion is explicit as Parker introduces a Latin groove in 7/4, reflective perhaps of the asymmetrical meters found in sub-continental rhythms. The pan-cultural fusion is then underlined by rapid shifts between essentially Western modal harmonies.

McCandless is famous for his work with world-music pioneers Oregon, and For The Waters is in their territory, modes shifting dreamily over a gently lilting, mostly minor 6/8. The soloists’ phrasing throughout the set is occasionally a little “conservatory” in style, but the relaxed tempo of For The Waters suits the leader well as she unfolds a considered piano solo, followed likewise by McCandless. For jazz mileage, he has his best, and jazziest, solo on the jaunty rumba Torredembara. Similar confections follow, completing a convincing collation of cross-border styles dressed with pleasing solo work.