Jazz CD Reviews
“Where Here Meets There” – Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica Quartet – TIKI
Published on December 29, 2013
“Where Here Meets There” [TrackList follows] – Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica Quartet – TIKI-003 [11/19/13] ****:
(Brian O’Neill: vibes and percussion; Geni Skendo: flutes; Jason Davis: acoustic bass; Shane Shanahan: percussion; Noriko Terada, guess percussion on tr. 4, Tev Stevig, guest tanbur on tr. 1 & 2 and oud on tr. 9)
Here are the latest nine tracks of “bachelor-pad lounge music” from the notable Mr. Ho. Even the cover art is in keeping with the 1950’s slant of the whole production. It also says “Exotica for Modern Living.” You get the idea. This the sort of thing that was hot stuff in the ‘50s with albums by Les Baxter, Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman and others, except the Hawaiiana shtick is mostly absent. Our previous review of this group is Here.
This more modern exotica fuses a bunch of differing genres with unusual instrumentation to give a strange and enjoyable twist to a variety of music. The quartet makes great and varying use of their instruments. Sometimes Skendo’s flutes have a haunting sound and mixed with the ethereal sounds of O’Neill’s vibes one is transported to various exotic locations. The hugely varied percussion gallery operated by Shanahan maintains the interesting musical journey. The influences that show up in the tracks is often mind-boggling. The “Ritual Mallet Dance” has shades of Falla, Chano Pozo and even Dizzy Gillespie. Cal Tjader is the starting point for “Black Orchid,” and the quartet does all three of Gershwin’s Preludes for Piano, but in instrumental ways you never expected. The second, slow and dreamy one becomes “The Siamese Cat Song.” “Sanaez” has a musical reference to the theme for TV’s The Addams Family. The group’s penchant for odd titles—which reminded me of Alec Wilder and Raymond Scott—is shown by the fourth track, “Would You Like Bongos With That Fugue?” The use of exaggerated stereo reminds one of Esquivel’s old and new recordings, which are not that different from this but a little more corny.
Chiseling Music; Sansaz; Maracatune For Chalco; Would You Like Bongos With That Fugue?; Ritual Mallet Dance; Prelude For Piano I; Prelude For Piano II (Featuring The Siamese Cat Song); Prelude For Piano III; Black Orchid.