Music Reviews

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Artist: Rich West
Title: Bedouin Hornbook
Format: CD
Label: pfMENTUM (@)
Rated: *****
Written and produced by L.A.-based drummer Rich West with the aid arrangments of other performers of the city of angels, such ass Chris Heenan (reed - who, unless somebody forgot to write there was a Didgeridoo, is able to make one of his horns sound like one of those beautiful Australian instruments in an extraordinarily close way), Bruce Friedman (trumpet), Jeremy Drake (guitar) and Scot Ray (tuba), "Bedouin Hornbook" is definitely to be filed under the improvisational free-jazz no-wave experimental music shelf. I don't have any info as to how much of this was scored and how much came up at the moment, but I'd say that compared to other albums you'd find on the same shelf, this one is most definitely "organized" and the compositions follow a logical direction and evolve in a more orderly fashion, so to say. In other words its very musical, which to me is a plus, and feels like a classically trained orchestra taking off on the wings of the free spirit of jazz, art-rock, kraut-rock and occasional sparks of latino, classical music etc. These fine musicians certainly know how to play together and it actually sounds like there's many more of them playing together at once. The tuba comping and solos and the drum arrangments are especially fascinating and the arrangments of the horns and the guitar also interact very well. The entire album is quite interesting I must say, and will appeal to fans of Ernesto Diaz-Infante, Jeff Kaiser, Peter Frohmader, Jacopo Andreini and that entire scene, and will especially please those who appreciate that scene but wish for a little more composition and a little less improvisation.

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