Azigza — Kriya
(Lionharp, 2003, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2004-09-01Combining influences from around the world can be a dangerous enterprise for musicians. There will always be some who call foul at the “appropriation” of sounds from other cultures, preferring their World Music “pure” and true to its roots. Certainly for every success like Peter Gabriel or Afro Celt Sound System, there’s a failure like Rusted Root, who for all their sincerity (for all I know) come across as dilettante dabblers. Of course this idea of fusing different cultures goes back to Santana and the Beatles and other pioneers of the late 60s, but with a few exceptions, it’s never caught on in America, at least with a wide audience. The first time I saw Azigza in 1999, I figured them for another interesting failure, though their connection with the Gong crowd (due to the appearance of Gilli Smith) gave them a little something to set them apart. But from those shaky beginnings has grown something truly wonderful. Their meshing of Mahavishnu, King Crimson, and space rock with the musics of Eastern Europe, India, Africa, and the Middle East has coalesced into something uniquely theirs, and Kriya is pretty much brilliant from start to finish. I’m reminded of the potential shown by Sky Cries Mary, who came from similar places, but never quite gelled. Azigza’s success is due in large part to the technical prowess of the musicians, which is tempered by the good taste to know when atmosphere (courtesy of found sounds and voices) is more important than energy.
Related artist(s): Azigza
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more