(Marnix Busstra, guitar/elec. sitar; Dave van Beek, drums; Eric van de Bovenkamp, keyboards; Peter Lieberom, tenor & soprano sax; Norbert Sollewijn Gelpke, bass guitar; With Guests: Dianne Reeves, vocals; Mike Mainieri, vibes)
I was unfamiliar with this Dutch fusion ensemble but immediately became a fan upon hearing this SACD. They’re a sort of mix of Oregon, Spyro Gyra and Weather Report, though without the heavy funk element of the latter. An unusual effort went into this album, which is not their first. They came to New York to record it in a studio there, and in the process invited Reeves and Mainieri to join them. All the compositions are originals by Busstra except the final one. I like the band’s witty tune titles.
Mainieri’s vibes add a welcome and swinging element to the proceedings on several tracks, and Dianne Reeves’ track is Tale of Two Angels – a slow and dreamy vocal marveling over two children. Peter Lieberom plays a long and lyrical soprano sax solo on The Spiral. Strangelets is an uptempo number full of odd electronic sound bytes. Mainieri’s vibes are at the forefront of Oval Frame. Ants! Again? is an electronically funky track with raid staccato sax figurations and a creative Fender Rhodes solo by de Bovenkamp. The closing The Dave After, written by two other band members, features a tight duo of electric guitar and sax carrying the melody in a relaxed and laid back groove.
Sonics are tops, as always with Turtle, but I do wish labels putting out stereo-only SACDs would be good enough to indicate that on both the package and the disc. I mistakenly thought again that I had lost the connections to my surround speakers, until I finally substituted another SACD and discovered there was no connection problem. Other Turtle discs had all been multichannel as I recall.
Tracks: It’s all in the mind, The spiral, Strangelets, What’s Bob got to do with it?, Tale of two angels, Oval frame, Ants! Again?!!, The Dave after.
– John Henry