Pianist and composer David Chesky has assembled a group of first-rate collaborators for this unique jazz project. Bob Mintzer (bass clarinet), Giovanni Hildago (congas), Andy Gonzalez (bass) and Randy Brecker (trumpet) rank among the finest instrumental voices in jazz and Latin music. Each member of the Body Acoustic Band brings his distinct style to this polyrhythmic tour de force, making this an exciting experimental journey into the deep organic space of audiophile jazz.
The most jazz-oriented of the elderly musicians in the Buena Vista Social Club, pianist Ruben Gonzalez was 77 at the time of this CD, his debut as a leader. Although he did not even own his own piano at the time, he plays brilliantly, performing a variety of traditional melodies plus two originals, often quoting other songs and really stretching himself. His chord voicings are distinctive and very inviting, his control of the piano is quite impressive, and the music sings its heart out. The CD was recorded spontaneously over a two-day period with Gonzalez mostly being the lead voice, assisted by trumpeter Manuel Mirabal (who has some fine solos), bassist Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez, several percussionists, and occasionally three background singers. This set is impossible not to love.
Ireland's answer to the Incredible String Band, Dr. Strangely Strange engaged in the same type of psychedelic acoustic music with folksy arrangements. With traditional instruments like penny whistle, fiddle, harmonium, and mandolin, Dr. Strangely Strange was more solidly rooted in melody and structure than the group's flaky Scottish counterparts. Produced by British modern folk guru Joe Boyd, "Kip of the Serenes" is built around simple and repetitious melodies occasionally interrupted by stream-of-consciousness musical and lyrical diversions. This simplistic approach would be abandoned with their 1970 follow-up, "Heavy Petting", which saw their first partnership with electric guitarist Gary Moore.