One of the best recordings for Keith Jarrett's mid-'70s American quartet (whose style differed sharply from its European doppelgänger), Survivor's Suite opens with Jarrett's aching, breathy sigh on the bass recorder, evoking the sound of a horn somewhere across a great expanse of fog. Percussion soon punctuates the melodic line to give the opening a more spiritual, ritualistic feel, which is only the first of many mutations that this album will go through.
The Orisha Suite is inspired by some of the Afro-Cuban deities—or orishas—from Lucumí religious lore, with the exception of the soulful, funky, danceable and exquisite opening cut, which is dedicated to—and inspired by—the daughter of the date's leader. As such, nonetheless, the recording is a sonic interpretation of some of the theological tenets associated with this particular religious phenomenon so richly endowed with musical potential. The Orisha Suite has shown that Mossman knows not only how to cast a crew that can communicate and perform together at the level that his music requires, but also how to impersonate his own compositions accordingly as a player with a rich and beautiful tone, fine technique, an inexhaustible well of ideas, and New York street smarts.
Slovenian guitar ace Samo Salamon fronts a European ensemble akin to one of those legendary all-star jazz summits, but of course these colorific works veer off into an experimental wonderland of improvisation with split-second paradigm shifts amid the ensemble's synergistic discourses. Nonetheless, the respective musicians are at the top of their game here, as Salamon arranged for drummers Roberto Dani and Christian Lillinger to generate the seismic currents by staying in synch but not necessarily executing the same patterns.
“The Extinct Suite” is a reinterpretation of the more ambient and orchestral elements of this last album ‘Tender Extinction’. Not a remix by any means, some familiar passages are woven together with additional pieces to create a suite of instrumentals lasting over 55 minutes as one single track.
If Micus’s saga were an ongoing raga, then 1983’s Listen to the Rain would be one of its most inward-looking prayers. All four meditations that make up the album, while externally distinct, are internally connected through Micus’s use of guitar. The Spanish variety plays a particularly active role throughout, with the sole exception of “Dancing with the Morning,” for which he pairs the ubiquitous steel-stringed with the suling, a bamboo flute often heard in gamelan ensembles of southeast Asia. Knowledgeable listeners will recognize both the rarity of the backpacker’s trusty companion in the Micus canon and its elemental necessity in this setting. The ascetic sheen of its metal strings paints a world of shine to which a human presence adds less manufactured colors. The suling’s unclipped wings, by extension, are exhaled into the sky above, circling and darting through the surrounding melodies until they take shape under cover of their own imagination.