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The Passage


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Audio CD, March 23, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Great CD With Seven (7) Songs.

Amazon.com

With over a dozen albums to his credit, Andy Narell has almost single handedly popularized the steel pan in contemporary jazz. While long associated with the Caribbean and Trinidad (where the instrument was invented in the early 1940s), Narell has made the subtly nuanced tones of the instrument a compelling presence in jazz (in much the same way that Toots Thielmans popularized the role of the harmonica). For his latest set, with its music for a steel orchestra, Narell traveled to Paris where he called upon the large steel band ensemble, Calypsociation. His writing celebrates the sweeping textures of the assembled players, and creates dazzling platforms for the featured soloists (Michael Brecker , Paquito D'Rivera, and Hugh Masekela). In particular, Brecker--no stranger to a wide variety of settings, genres, and idioms--shines on his numbers, especially the relaxed balladry of "Song For Mia." The highly percussive nature of the music is given full flower by the presence of a solid core of drummers. --David Greenberger

1. The Passage
2. Song For Mia
3. The Long Way Back
4. Sea Of Stories
5. Mabouya
6. Oee Mwa Wee
7. Coffee Street

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 23, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Heads Up
  • ASIN: B0001JXQEW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,935 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Huneebee on April 24, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
My roots go back to Trinidad -- my father is Trinidadian -- and while I have visitied the island, I never have during February -- the annual Carnival and Panorama festive season. I have always wanted to visit during that time, not just to participate in the festivities, but more importantly to be a part of the music, to hear for myself what my father has always talked about -- the bands of Panorama! To hear that many drums all playing their parts, and see the musicians rocking to the music, is an incredibly awesome experience.
Having heard Andy's latest outing, I feel that I have been to Trinidad in February!
No, this is not injecting the steel drum into the jazz genre, it is Andy in his element playing the steel pan how it was meant to be played -- melodically and beautifully in a steel orchestra. As a lover of calypso and steel pan music from childhood, thanks to my father, this album gives me nothing but joy.
If your only exposure to steel pan is through Andy or others weaving the instrument into the jazz genre, then you may not appreciate or like this album. However, if you are an islander like me or one who appreciates the cultural experience of the sound and roots of steel pan music, then close your eyes, have a listen, and this will take you home.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jan P. Dennis on April 6, 2004
Format: Audio CD
. . . those who love steel drum music, and those who don't. I belong to the former group. My favorite practitioner is Andy Narell. I believe I have every one of Narell's discs as leader except an obscure out-of-print recording originally released on the defunct Uptown label which I heard on NPR in 1979, the name of which slips my mind. I also own all of Monty Alexander's Ivory and Steel discs, as well as Oliver Lake's astounding Kinda Up and Othello Molineaux's solo disc, plus Ahmad Jamal's disc featuring the latter artist, Nature: The Essence Part 3. I remember these details so precisely because my first encounter with this magical music, wrapped, as it was, in jazz garments, completely enthralled me, and continues to do so to this day. It was also one of my main and first entry points to creative improvised music. Thus, I feel, as a listener, a tremendous debt of gratitude to Andy Narell. All told, including Sakesho (which is billed as a band, and not an Andy Narell disc), I believe I have 12 discs featuring him as leader. This also doesn't include the first two or three Caribbean Jazz Project discs, on which he was a prominent member, or either of the Dave Love Smooth Africa recordings, on which he was also prominently featured. He plays a key part as well on Steve Erquiga's brilliant outing, Erkiology, and has a strong supporting role on Joe Pass's wonderful disc, Whitestone (all of which I own).
So you can see, I am somewhat of an amateur expert on jazz-oriented steel drum-band music. How does this latest Narell outing stack up? Somewhere in the middle, I'd say. Not as mesmeric and totally engaging as my two favorites, Slow Motion and Light in Your Eyes, probably superior to Fire in the Engine Room and Behind the Bridge, about on a par with Live in South Africa.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ajg Armstrong on March 25, 2005
Format: Audio CD
The highlights on this album are the first & last tracks, being quintessentially Trinidadian steelpan playing, very much

in the mode of Ellie Manette - music I grew up with. Which is not intended to diminish the tracks in between - which are also a joy to listen to. Accomplished playing and brilliant recording - unlike my old Trinidad RCA Victor vinyls of the 50's.

If you have any interest in pan music this is a must-have.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By CLAZZIGULL on February 28, 2005
Format: Audio CD
TO THE POINT...The very first cut on this cd (PASSAGE) is worth the price of the whole cd...and then some! Tears,I tell you, tears of joy and I immediately lost all my arthritis pain as I listened to it. THIS is the Andy Narell cd anyone who digs this style of music should not be without! YES!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By NotSoft918 on August 14, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I have listened to samples of his other CD's after purchasing this. He has successfully mixed steel band with jazz. I never get tired of listening to this CD. I hope he would record another very soon. I love it. Don't hesistate to buy this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By GJ on November 4, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I did not know Andy Narell, now I have all his CD's in just three weeks. Including Passage on SACD. Magical, soft, tantalizing music, I don't like the way of playing of Michael Brecker too much, but for this SACD I have to withdraw that opinion: it fits and it's great in the companionship of Andy Narell. The sound though, is a little disappointing, it's 5.1 allright, but fairly soft, not too much dynamics as other SACD's. This is due to the instruments, mostly steel pans, but the music itself covers it all. 5 stars if the sound were a little more sprankling, but the music is 5 stars, even 6!
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Format: Audio CD
I am flipping out a bit at how good an album this is. Seems to me there is no better place to get introduced to the steel pan sound for reals.

IMHO, there is simply no other instrument whose tones are at one and the same time as rich and as ethereal as steel pan, especially in a big, spacious orchestral setting. When you hear the synth version of steel pan, you hardly recognize it as steel pan at all -- it sounds like a bad hangover from an '80s party. When it's the real deal, orchestra-style, you remember it differently -- the dynamic range of these instruments is AWESOME. The bass pan is so smoove you'll swear you were listening to the world's most acoustically-balanced cathedral organ. The awkwardly flat twang of most electric bass work is missing entirely, replaced by an open rumble that leaves every note as clean and distinct as if you were inches from the drum. The trebble has no bite either, and together the low-end and high-end are a blend as delicious to the ear as liqueur on the tongue.

Andy Narell writes incredible compositions -- all seven tracks here are solid as a rock, and you have the bonus of a great session drummer and Paquito d'Rivera.

This bears up under repeated -- even repetitive -- listens. Yes, get it!
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