Nov 1 2016
This is an album with an ethereal presence. Andras: The Book of Angels Volume 28 is the Nova Express Quintet utilizing their instruments as wind currents for shaping sound. Tracks like “Yofiel” and “Huzia“ send a single autumn leaf of melody upward higher and higher and then let it fall gently earthward before starting the cycle all over again. “Sabiel” is the stirring of forces in the minutes before the arrival of the storm. But even when that storm shows up, as it does on “Meresin” and “Ramiel,” it’s a sensation of a furious dance, of motion with purpose, and not one of chaotic elements.
The multifaceted percussion of Cyro Baptista synced up with drummer Joey Baron modulates the intensity to pair with the melodic sighs of vibraphonist Kenny Wollesen and pianist John Medeski; sometimes they calm things down to marry a delicate patter with a delicate expression of melody, and sometimes the duo ramps the intensity up and leverages the power of contrast. Bassist Trevor Dunn spends time with each camp, and it’s when he matches with Medeski switching over to organ, there’s an undercurrent of electricity that gives a charge even to those passages that seem more content to drift than drive ahead.
Worth mentioning that these are all veterans of the John Zorn – Tzadik Records universe, and they put that experience to work, showing an easy comfort with Zorn’s particular aesthetic, and bring a crackling energy to an album of compositions more suited to contemplation. That combination of dreamy ambiance and focused desire is potent.
Your album personnel: John Medeski (organ, piano), Kenny Wollesen (vibraphone), Trevor Dunn (acoustic & electric basses), Joey Baron (drums), Cyro Baptista (congas, percussion) and John Zorn (compositions, arrangements).
Released on the Tzadik label.