Best of 2017 #20: Tephra Sound – “Horizon” (Self-Produced)


Depending on how you go about looking at it, the sense is that Horizon is rooted to New Orleans in a number of ways.  To start with the obvious, it’s where Helen Gillet lives.  The Tephra Sound ensemble began in the cellist’s living room, and the resulting album was recorded there, too.  There are also those moments in this dynamically diverse recording that key into a traditional New Orleans sound.  And then there’s the idea of how Jazz, at its birth, was music that represented the melting pot of the city… that, with blues as its base, added the ingredients of disparate cultures as it all came together.  That, too, is reflective of Horizon… measured by the diversity of its influences and the backgrounds of its members.  The mix of old-school, new-school and no-school leads to moments that are joyful or ferocious or introspective or all of that and more.  It’s also a whole bundle of fun, setting a charge for both head and heart.  And the spontaneity that set the whole thing in motion is present throughout the recording session.  Tephra Sound conjures up a unique kind of magic.

Music from New Orleans.

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