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Bebop Spoken There

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

CD Review: Dan Willis and The Velvet Gentleman The Satie Project II

Dan Willis (oboe, soprano, tenor and baritone saxophones, piccolo, English Horn, clarinet, baritone clarinet, contrabass clarinet, duduk, zurna, Chinese flute, hiririchi, yokobue and EWI); Pete McCann (electric guitar); Ron Oswanski (accordion, B3 organ, Wurlitzer, electric piano); Kermit Driscoll (electric and double bass); John Hollenbeck (drums); Richard Sosinsky (double bass (11); Todd Low (ehru); Entcho Todorov (violin); Mark Vanderpoel (electric bass (7); Pablo Reippi (marimba, vibraphone and pitched gongs).
(Review by Steve H).
One of the very few Classical CDs in my collection is an album of piano works by the composer Erik Satie so I was very interested to receive this album with a jazz interpretation of the ‘Velvet Gentleman’s’ work. The CD did not disappoint. The interpretations of Satie’s compositions by Willis are fascinating and the multi instrumental renditions revelatory. This album features 3 main compositions of Satie the Gnossiennes #2 to #6 the Pieces Froides 1,11,111 and 3 takes of Vexations although not necessarily in that order.
Many of the instruments featured I have never heard of.  I thought Duduk and Yokobue were international footballers who played for Liverpool and Everton respectively but they turned out to be just 2 of the 11 instruments Willis plays, including a Hiririchi which not even a Google search could find. The nearest I could get was a Hibachi which is a Japanese barbecue! Fortunately, I found some explanations in the accompanying notes. Willis plays 3 types of double reeded instruments: a Hiririch from Japan, a Dudek and a Zurna from Armenia. Meanwhile a Yokobue is a Japanese flute and an Ehru is a two string Chinese violin. This  amazing collection of instruments makes each tune a delightful discovery where you simply do not know what you will hear next - be it a beautiful Oboe and bowed double bass on Gnossienne #5, an electro fusion on Gnossienne #7 or an oriental jamboree of the aforementioned double reeded instruments on Gnossienne #3.  
For those hoping to hear work similar to the gentle minimalist work of the late 19th century they may be taken aback, but for those wanting to experience a creative, contemporary, unique and exciting creation, they will be wholeheartedly entertained by the whirr of the Wurlitzer, the thrill of the Ehru, the warmth of the Zurna and the happy hiririchi to name but a few. 
The Satie Project 11 is available on Daywood Drive Records.
Steve H.

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