What a nice surprise to get a new album from this Finnish band, already five years since their second album Behind the Curtains. But as the extended title suggests, this is a special project. Some background information first: in April 2015 the core members of Paidarion (drummer Kimmo Pörsti and bassist Jan-Olof Strandberg) invited several friends from various countries to join them on a small tour in southern Finland. These friends were the US vocalist Jenny Darren, British hard-rock bassist Kev Moore, Hungarian guitarist Ákos Bogáti-Bokor (leader of the bands Yesterdays and Tabula Smaragdina), Finnish electronic music -oriented musician Otso Pakarinen, and Robert Webb (best known as the frontman of the 70's band ENGLAND)…
Producer Chris Bangs cranks out ten jazzy dazzlers, contributing musically on bass and drums and co-writing eight of the ten songs, with many featuring the delightful vocals of Camelle Hinds, who is simply entrancing on "State of Mind" and "Always Be the One." The title track is a delicacy for the ears, an intricate movement arranged with diamond-cutter precision. Living up to his name, "Way Over There," "Watuzi Strut," and "Guiding Light" are bangers from a banging, slick, contemporary jazz CD.
Erik Satie's music is timeless and beautiful, but can it stand up to interpretation by downtown New York jazzbos? In the hands of Dan Willis & Velvet Gentlemen the answer is a resounding "YES!" Willis' arrangements are as brilliant as they are varied. There are some straightforward readings (as on most of the Nocturnes) right alongside some pretty inventive and even daring ones. Second Gymnopedie starts as an accordion-sax-drums trio, then slides almost imperceptibly to a guitar-trumpet-drums trio. John Hollenbeck's alway engaging drumwork ties it all together, but the really amazing thing is how much the tune now resembles Miles Davis' "All Blues!"
Expedition Zero is a Moscow electronic project which started back in 1996. Although its founder and currently the only member is Kirill Trepakov, the first four albums were created together with Vitaly (Dora) Litvinov and Nikolai Anokhin took part. Through the time of the project existence its discography constitutes eleven albums, with five of them issued under Russian electronic lables.