Reviews roundup – Elliott & The Audio Kings vs. Dwiki Dharmawan vs. John Latini vs. Dewa Budjana
ELLIOTT & THE AUDIO KINGS
Elliott and the Audio Kings
The Canadian colonies produce some fine blues and this one is no exception. It’s a debut album from Mike Elliott (formerly of Daddy Long Legs) who has put together a new trio with Jonny Sauder on drums and Scott Fitzpatrick on bass.
And it’s quite old school with a stripped down sound that only adds a smattering of harmonica to the basic trio sound. It works well as they motor through some fine tunes and their blues and boogie medium serves the listener well.
They can slow things down a notch but it’s when they make a nod towards classic jump blues that they really come to life. It’s a really enjoyable album with songs like “Friday Night”, “Another Day Another Dollar” and “Jealous Kind” currently topping my pops.
A double album of world jazz fusion from Indonesian pianist Dwiki Dharmawan was never going to be one for the easy listening pile and I’m not going to pretend that this is one for your next dinner party background sound but if you’re willing to put in a shift then there is a lot to admire and enjoy here.
Dwiki looks pretty much everywhere for his influences and along with bassist Yaron Stavi and drummer/percussionist Asaf Sirkis as well as guests clarinettist/saxophonist Gilad Atzmon and electric guitarist Mark Wingfield pulls in sounds from jazz, fusion, rock, world and beyond.
The title track is an early favourite with the guitar of Mark Wingfield really pulling the piece together. At times the trio spill over into free jazz and lovers of that sound will really take to “Tjampuhan” and “”Frog Dance”. It’s always adventurous, immaculately performed and unreservedly recommended for fans of fusion.
The Blues Just Makes Me Feel Good
Smokin’ Sleddog Records
Back to the blues now and a record from the New York born, Detroit based John Latini. And it’s no surprise that he bases himself there when he can fire up some party in your pants roadhouse blues like this.
This is the sound that my teenage years were devoted to after I first heard the Delaware Destroyers and Mr Latini and his band are as good as it gets. I’m not going to pretend that his singing voice is going to be to everyones taste but when the Chuck Berry licks and the honking horns arrive I defy you to keep your feet still.
It’s his debut album and songs like “Lord Made Me A Weak Man”, “My Town Got A River And A Train” and “Gotta Have My Babies” sound road tested, ripe and ready. It’s a Saturday night party of a record and everyone is invited.
Favored Nations / Moonjune
We’re heading back to Indonesia now, this time to Bali, and we’re reacquainting ourselves with the work of Balinese electric guitarist Dewa Budjana. I last clapped ears on around the tine of his “Surya Namaskar” release and was well impressed with his jazz fusion meets Eastern scales with prog rock sound.
And he’s still firing on all cylinders this time in the company of bassist Tony Levin and drummer/keyboardists Gary Husband and Jack DeJohnette, as well as guests including saxophonists Tim Garland and Danny Markovich. His own guitar sound seems founded in the seventies sounds of John McLaughlin and Allan Holdsworth but his is no throwback imitation which is probably why Steve Vai has taken an interest (this is released through his Favored Nations label).
Musically, this is exceptional, with a lot of the tracks driven by the bass which gives the guitar plenty of room to take off on flights of fancy while the imaginative arrangements which take things in an orchestral direction are delightful. All of the music is given time to reach fruition with the likes of “Solas PM”, “Manhattan Temple” and ” Rerengat Langit (Crack In The Sky)” just about as good as it gets in this idiom. Highly recommended.