Project Trio – Instrumental [TrackList follows] – self (Harmonyville Records), 47:53 [5/2/14) ****:
Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica Quartet – Where Here Meets There [TrackList follows] – TIKI-003 (self) ****:
(Project Trio: Greg Pattillo – flute; Eric Stephenson – cello; Peter Seymour – bass)
(Mr. Ho’s Quartet: Brian O’Neill – vibes & percussion; Geni Skendo – flutes; Shane Shanahan – percussion; Jason Davis – acoustic bass; Guests: Tev Stevig – tanbur & oud; Noriko Terada – percussion)
Both these CDs bring classical and jazz backgrounds to a high energy popular sound which might appeal to those who don’t like either genre in its purer forms. The Project Trio has a number of albums out now (this is the sixth), and is known for its lively music videos. Pattillo’s videos on YouTube have been seen over 20 million times now. He performs both onstage and in the streets, subways and parks. He also leads the Project Ensemble, which consists of performers with classical roots who bend genres.
The group’s cellist fits into today’s wide-ranging cello repertory, going from classical to jazz to folk and rock. And bassist Seymour won the Downbeat award for Best Jazz Soloist in 1996, and he’s performed with Wynton Marsalis and Bobby McFerrin. The trio is passionate about music education. And they play over 100 performances worldwide each year.
Their album of 11 tracks is a wildly eclectic assembly of originals and covers which ranges from classical to gypsy jazz, Brazilian and slow jams. They get some of today’s hot sounds of hip-hop into “Sloeberry Jam,” and “Djangish” is an original homage to Django Reinhardt. Some of the straighter classical tunes include the “Bacchanale” from St.-Saens’ Sampson and Delilah, and the Hungarian Dance No. 5 of Brahms. Great fun to hear.
Hungarian Dance No. 5; Djanglish; 99 Monday; Zagainst3; Sloeberry Jam; Andre de Sapato Novo; Shir; The Anthem; BRB; Now; Bacchanale fr. Samson & Delilah.
I reviewed a previous Mr. Ho CD here (for a larger ensemble). Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica “Exotica for Modern Living” is performed and recorded in, of all places, Roslindale, MA. The little quartet this time (vibist Brian O’Neill is Mr. Ho) uses unusual instrumentation played by the four basic musicians plus a collection of musical bits and pieces that show an intriguing fusion of genres. Their latest CD fits right into the re-born generation of exotica, also known in Playboy language as bachelor-pad or lounge music.
I’m reminded of the thoughtful/humorous off-the-wall titles used by such as Alec Wilder and Raymond Scott by the Mr. Ho title “Would You Like Bongos With That Fugue?” He uses such sounds as the oud, bass cajon, pandeiro and udu to get surprising colors into this musical creations. A whimsical side is also part of this quartet; O’Neill quotes a bit of the theme to the Addams Family in “Sanaez,” which has vibes, flute and tan bur (the latter played by a guest musician). I once played all three Gershwin Piano Preludes in a recital, but here they’re totally transformed and restructured as exotica, even to No. 2 being dubbed “The Siamese Cat Song.” The “Ritual Mallet Dance” brings nostalgia for Dizzy and Falla to the same track. And for the final track of the CD it’s jazz Latinist Cal Tjader. Again, great fun to listen to.
Chiseling Music; Sansaz; Maracatune For Chalco; Would You Like Bongos With That Fugue?; Ritual Mallet Dance; Prelude For Piano I; Prelude For Piano II (Featuring The Siamese Cat Song); Prelude For Piano III; Black Orchid.