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(60:51; Moonjune Records)
Moonjune Records is one of the very few labels in the world where I know that every release is going to be substantial and special, and the same is true of the sight of Tony Levin as when one of the most in-demand bassists sits in for a whole album then one knows it is going to be special. Here we have Uruguayan multi-instrumentalist Beledo working with Levin and drummer Kenny Grohowski (Brand X, John Zorn, John Medeski etc), as well as Jorge Camiruaga (vibraphone) on two tracks and singer Kearoma Rantao providing vocals on one track and Boris Savoldelli on another. Somewhat unusually for a multi-instrumentalist, Beledo is truly at home on two very different instruments so each track features both his wonderfully fluid piano and dynamic guitar, with Levin and Grohowski slotting into the groove. Apparently, they recorded this facing each other (vocals added later) and I am guessing Beledo played piano first on some, guitar on others, although it is hard to tell as this really does sound like a quartet bouncing ideas off each other. Each musician learned the arrangements first, and then when recording they were all given the opportunity to improvise around that, so everyone knew where the piece was headed and the rough idea of how to get there but they could take different paths. This means we have an incredibly relaxed album which contains both spontaneity and structure, almost as if they are in concert playing something they have already recorded. There are times when they come across like classic Hatfield and the North, and it is obviously the fusion of the Canterbury scene has had a huge impact on them. The centrepiece of the album is Beledo’s arrangement of Eberhard Weber’s composition, “Seriously Deep”. Originally appearing on the ECM album, 'Silent Feet', the album and that track in particular had a huge impact on Beledo and his friend Jorge Camiruaga when it was released in 1978, and here it is turned into a 14-minute vehicle for everyone to show their wares, especially Levin. There are times when it drifts somewhat into straight jazz, especially on the delightful “Mama D” which has wonderful female vocals, but for the most part this is fusion of the highest order from three incredibly musicians and truly worthy of investigation by anyone who enjoys the genre.
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