The thing I love about this disc is it sounds like everyone'
Jan P. Dennis | Monument, CO USA | 06/29/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The thing I don't like about it is all the overdubs. On most of the numbers the leader's playing between five and ten instruments, including a variety of horns, keyboards, and percussion. What's the point? He has a fine group of core musicians. If he wanted more coloration, why not just include a bunch of other regulars and guests? What is he, the new Ray Charles (who, on a particular session, dissatisfied with the sound his backup singers were achieving, fired them all and overdubbed all their parts himself)?
I'm also not real keen on the two vocal numbers. As usual, it's not that there's anything particularly wrong with them; it's just that they break the mood carefully established by the instrumentals, introducing a quite different, and intrusive (at least to these ears), sensibility.
Finally, Pine has a tendency to play too many notes. I don't think he's never been a first-rate improviser, and even though his soloing's improving, he still has a tendency to disguise his lack of ideas behind a flurry of notes.
But enough carping; there are also many fine, even brilliant, things about this disc. First, I'm pretty much blown away by the soundscape he regularly achieves (maybe all those overdubs work pretty well, after all!). Second, Pine seems completely familiar and comfortable with an enormous variety of musics--everything from reggae (as well as ska and rocksteady) to township to hip-hop to post bop to North African to blues to tender ballads to electronica. And, unlike a lot of world-jazz wannabes, he's not just messing around with cool forms; he seems committed to thoroughly digesting them and stamping them with his own unique take. Indeed, therein lies his greatest strength as a musician: conceptualizing some very cool aural palettes and realizing them with great strength and imagination.
I don't think he's recorded his ultimate disc yet, but he's getting close. One of these days he'll just nail it, and we'll have a masterpiece. In the meantime, this is a very fine session, one that's steadily ingratiating itself and worming its way into my regular rotation. ****1/2"