Impulse Ensemble — Initiation
((Not on label) IE001, 2010, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-05-08Ethnic world jazz fusion, in general terms, is nothing new; Embryo, Paul Winter, Piirpauke, and others have been doing this a long time, but it's all the possibilities and permutations withing that style that keep it fresh and interesting, and provide plenty of as-yet-unmined territory to work within. Impulse Ensemble is a case in point, with a unique sonic palette based on the compositional ideas and instrumentation of the three musicians involved. Tony Vacca plays the balafon – a West African wooden tuned percussion instrument with resonating gourds, similar in some ways to the marimba, along with gongs, mbira, hand drums, and other percussion instruments. Jim Matus plays acoustic and electric laoutar, and Derrik Jordan plays violin, additional percussion, and sings on the album's only track with vocals "Catch That Wave." The opener "Senegal-America" at almost eleven minutes, sets the world-fusion tone for the five tracks that follow it, all group composed with the exception of the closer "Bombay," written by Vacca, which incorporates some ideas from classical Indian music, although the instrumentation brings the end result closer to an African style with Caribbean overtones. The laoutar and violin provide most of the overt melodic spirit forged within the omnipresent percussive contours, each piece being different enough from all the others to keep this energized from beginning to end. All taken, this is an excellent offering that breathes more life into this fertile genre.
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