Riddle of the Sphinx
jazz musician presents an Egyptian-themed release, featuring all song titles related to that exotic land; includes "Black Nile," "Isfahan" & other well-known songs, as well as originals
The African civilization of Ancient Egypt has inspired jazz artists for decades. John Coltrane, Randy Weston, Jimmy Giuffre, and Paul Horn have recorded albums and compositions about that fabled land. With this CD, alto/soprano saxophonist Mark Gross has produced a welcome addition to that esteemed list. Backed by Mulgrew Miller on piano, Joe Locke on vibraphone and marimba, Darryl Hall on bass, Brian Blade on drums, and Khalid Kwame Bell on percussion, Gross leads a jazzy caravan to where the past meets the present. Gross's "Valley of the Dry Bones" and the title track (with John LaBarbera on oud) echo Yusef Lateef and Coltrane's exotic, mid-1960s excursions. On Miller's "Eastern Joy Dance," the pianist adopts McCoy Tyner's pointillistic chord voicings, which are powered by Blade's intricate nod to Elvin Jones. Gross's heartfelt takes on Billy Strayhorn's "Isfahan," Kenny Garrett's "Lullabye of Isfahan," Cannonball Adderley's "Marabi," and Wayne Shorter's classic "Black Nile" show off his full alto and soprano sax sound. The twin peaks of the CD are the "The Red Sea," with its bewitching ostinato, and the habaneralike "The Desert Sands of Cairo." The motto of J Curve, this astounding project's record label, is "historic moments in jazz," and they have one here. --Eugene Holley Jr.
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 5 x 5.5 x 0.25 inches; 3.1 Ounces
- Manufacturer : J-Curve Records
- Date First Available : December 4, 2006
- Label : J-Curve Records
- ASIN : B00004SVIJ
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #702,021 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
- Customer Reviews:
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This is inspired stuff, ranking with Randy Weston's Spirit of our Ancestors. Recently Robert Stewart attempted an Eastern-inspired outing (The Force, 1998) with a similar sound but poor production decisions which led many of the tunes into meandering drum solos. No production mistakes here. Each tune is finely conceived and a mini-masterpiece in its own right. Each piece flows logically into the next. An album that guys will like for it's energy and inventiveness and women will relish for it's sesuousness and warmth. My choice for the best jazz CD of 2000 so far. Congratulations to Mark for a spectacular debut. His is a brilliant new voice in the all-too-conservative world of today's jazz. One can only hope he can keep the faith and vision for future projects.