Peter Epstein / Brad Shepik / Matt Kilmer: Lingua Franca (2005)
Technology and musical development have always seemed to work in tandem. Reel to reel recording made delay effects and multitracking techniques possible. Laptop processing has allowed trumpets to sound like cellos and cellos to sound like Jimi Hendrix. But the most intriguing technological advance for music in recent years has been the introduction of the iPod. Once you have spent a day listening to Balkan folk songs, The White Album and Tower of Power on shuffle, "genre" slowly goes the way of the buggy whip. This release from saxophonist Peter Epstein, guitarist Brad Shepik and percussionist Matt Kilmer is evidence of this new approach to music listening.
When these musicians first came on the New York scene, jazz-world music was all about taking one culture's music and approaching it with the freedom of jazz (think of Dave Douglas' Tiny Bell Trio or Klezmer icon Andy Statman). This ensemble has tastefully picked elements from all over the globe and diplomatically created a record that could only be the derivative of the most eclectic playlists. You may hear a vamp from the Eastern Bloc contrasting a bluesy solo line, with a feedback loop underneath.
By the second track you can begin to expose the overall sound of the recording; it is a mash-up infused with stylistic elements from all over the globe. The instrumentation and arrangements, most notably the hand drumming and odd meters, at first unmistakably resemble world music, but the subtleties on this record show off the musicians' willingness to accept many cultures at once. A reverse loop on "Here & There adds a George Martin/Bill Frisell subtext to the odd-meter vamp; the 7/8 pulse and group interplay take the reggae jam "Sunrise and alter it into an exploration of folk music.
Track Listing: Two Door; Miro; Emerald; Temoin; Here & There; Monsaraz; Kumanovo; Sunrise; Meditation; Improvisation 1.
Personnel: Peter Epstein: alto and soprano saxophone; Brad Shepik: guitars; Matt Kilmer: percussion.
Record Label: Songlines Recordings