Jazz CD Reviews

Sultans of String – Move – MCK

Sultans of String may not be easy to categorize, but they do afford a musical journey worth taking.

Published on November 23, 2011

Sultans of String – Move – MCK

Sultans of String - Move – Sultans Of String (self-produced) MCK 2050 49:42 [Distr. by Outside Music] ****:

(Chris Mckhool – Violins, viola; Kevin Laliberte’ – guitars; Eddie Paton – guitar; Drew Birston – pcoustic & electric bass; Rosendo” Chendy” Leon – percussion)

The record label in trying to assist stores as to the appropriate place to file the CD Sultans Of String - Move suggests Atomic World-Jazz-Flamenco. Assuming such a category exists, it still does not help to define what exactly this Canadian group is, nor the type of music they play. Nevertheless they merit serious consideration.

In this twelve-track offering, eleven are original composition by various members of the band, and the remaining tune is by Canadian Neil Young with “Heart Of Gold”. The tunes are a tour d’horizon (overview) of the band’s approach to music in all its forms and styles. Beginning with “Andalucía“, there is a muscular flamenco introduction, which then segues into a Moorish beat showing its Moroccan heritage. Staying with the Spanish theme, “Dos Guitarras” gives Mckhool and Laliberte’ a chance to trade-off Spanish guitar styles. For anyone who has visited Montreal, which is Canada’s most cosmopolitan city, the track entitled “Montreal” offers a musical tour of the city’s variety and charm. Recalling Neil Young’s “Heart Of Gold” the band gives it a rhumba zest and adds vocals by Amanda Walther and Sheila Carabine from the Canadian acoustic-folk group Dala.

While “Ernie’s Bounce” is not quite “Bernie’s Tune.” it does swing along at a lively pace, and has some tasty trumpet by Kevin Turcotte. “To You” written by bassist Drew Birston, with lyrics and vocal by his wife Amanda Martinez, provides a mambo tang to an  expedition through Havana Cuba. Flamenco again finds its way on “Return To Lisboa” but it has a rhumba swagger. The disc closes with “Nacimiento” which Mckhool describes as a “journey to parenthood” and it is a fitting swinging finale replete with bursts of recurring musical intensity.

Sultans of String may not be easy to categorize, but they do afford a musical journey worth taking.

TrackList: Andalucia;Dos Guitarras; Montreal; Heart Of Gold; Emerald Swing; Josie; Road To Kfarmishki; Orquidea; Ernie’s Bounce; To You; Return To Lisboa; Nacimiento.

—Pierre Giroux




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