Drummer Louis Romanos wastes not a note in any song here (and he wrote them all, people), all four members of the quartet tightly locked into every bar and measure, even when the horn and guitar lay out and let bass and drums dominate for a bit. Romanos reminds me of a cross between Louie Belson and Genesis / Brand X era Phil Collins, Louis a guy working environmentally not just metronomically. The shifts from everyone throughout Take Me There are often subtle, fluid, transmorphic. Just when you settle into an old school format, here comes Dan Sumner on his guitar, tweaking the mode into a sidestream of itself, nudging the foundations aside so the scenery rolls into a new day. The very first cut, Songo, demonstrates this well, and Romanos' position as a musician, not just a drummer, is critical to the entire ambience.
Then Neal Starkey commences the second song, Second Song (Louis possesses a bit of playful wit every so often in titling, as we'll see again in his turn-around Green in Blew on Miles' Blue in Green [though it's widely held that Bill Evans actually wrote it, Bill himself in fact said this…more than once]), with a pointillistic bass line in balladic narrative, Sumner comping him, instead of the other way around, until Alex Noppe glides in on trumpet with wistful colors and airs. This is Noppes' song, written to be so, and he puts in a fine performance, Sumner slightly anarchically wrinkling the fabric a touch here and there until Starkey resumes the bassline, taking the background up front once again in highly lyrical fashion, so much so that I could have very quietly sat and listened to a 15-minute solo extension. Beautiful work.
We're only into the third cut now, and it intros itself more abstractly than anything previous, soon resolving half way back to familiar refrains…but not entirely, and the interplay between pastorale, modernism, and something in between is what's most intriguing about the track. But the CD conducts itself largely in that fashion anyway, oft fading into old ECM dexterities and textures, Ania very like a Tomasz Stanko tune when the European master holds himself in reserve, conjuring up Catalonian imagery. The rest of the album I'll leave to your discoveries and delectations, but don't plan on it providing the background to a festive bacchanal; that'd be a mistake, too much intelligence going on, and partygoers would soon have you trussed and gagged in the broom closet as they flipped Prince and Cindy Lauper into the player. Enjoy this one for yourself.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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