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East of Eden — Graffito
(Eclectic Discs ECLCD 1020, 2005, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2006-05-01

Graffito Cover artHot on the heels of Eclectic’s reissue of East of Eden’s first two LPs comes a brand new recording from the founding lead voices of the band: saxophonist Ron Caines and violinist Dave Arbus. Guitarist Geoff Nicholson is the main composer of the first half of CD, which is actually the third release since the main trio reconvened in 1997. The strains of jazz and world music are prominent in the composer’s palette, as heard on “Noir,” where Caines delivers a late night lead that fits the mid tempo track. Nicholson’s solo style needs no distortion as he is comfortable doing clean spirited leads. “Jump the Gun” is a bluesy, bouncy jazz piece that reminds me a less slick Crusaders, with Caines doubling up on both alto and tenor sax. “Almazán” shows that the band has a handle for more world music based themes with Caines soloing lightly over an even tempo pulse. The closest the band gets to something really challenging is the on “The Cloud,” which reminds me a lot of the Yellowjackets. Caine’s four compositions close out the disc with “Southern Hemisphere” creating a charming atmosphere with tenor sax soloing atop acoustic giutar accompaniment. The lush ballad “Hymnal” closes out the disc on somber note. In closing it’s clear that these three friends still enjoy making music in their later years.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 33, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): East of Eden

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