With her latest, multivalent ECM New Series album, Meredith aimed to address ecology and climate change, she says: "Believing that music speaks more directly than words, I worked to make a piece with a fluid, perceptual field that could expand awareness of what we are in danger of losing. On Behalf of Nature is a meditation on our intimate connection to nature, its inner structures, the fragility of its ecology and our interdependence." Voices and instruments have equal weight: sometimes each is heard alone; sometimes they are blended to form a new, mysterious sound; sometimes they are combined to create intricate, layered, yet transparent sonic landscapes.
It might strike as a paradox, but sometimes the brilliance of certain inventions can be measured by how obvious, how commonplace they seem. The music of Venezuelan pianist Silvano Monasterios is so easy-on-the-ear, so elegantly structured, and has such a casual, lived-in feel that it takes a bit to catch on to how sophisticated his work truly is. It's only after awhile that one notices the harmonic turns, the storytelling soloing, or his rhythmic vocabulary, especially his discreet use of traditional Venezuelan styles. Partly Sunny is Monasterios' second album for Savant, and his choices suggest that he feels no need to accommodate any conventional expectations about how Latin jazz should sound.
Indonesian guitar legend, Dewa Budjana is offering his most ambitious album to date, "Zentuary". A veteran player whose career has already been marked by collaborations with a virtual "who's who" of musical luminaries, Budjana still manages to raise the stakes and elevate the level of his game on his fifth solo album. Supported by an all-star cast of enormous proportions – including jazz legend, Jack DeJohnette (over forty years on the ECM label), the iconic progressive bass and stickman, Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel; King Crimson), and the extraordinary superstar sideman talents of Britain's Gary Husband (Allan Holdsworth; John McLaughlin) – Budjana offers a profusion of cross-cultural delicacies which tease, cajole, enthrall and, ultimately, satisfy listeners. Special guests include guitarist Guthrie Govan (The Aristocrats; Steven Wilson, Tim Garland (Chick Corea; Bill Bruford) and Danny Markovich (Marbin). Aside from his renowned skills on guitar, Zentuary documents Budjana's position as one of the genre's most prolific, accomplished composers and arrangers. The music on this 2-CD set is a magnanimous affair, where its highly skilled participants are given ample space to create and express. The net result is a soaring, synergistic mélange of brilliant, articulate instrumental progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion and world music.