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Ghost Canyon

Title - Music for the Exploration of Elusive Phenomena
Artist - Julian Gerstin

For those unaware, Julian Gerstin is a percussionist and composer whose music reflects his experience with musicians in and from Cuba, Martinique, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Bulgaria, and Egypt as well as jazz from trad New Orleans to experimental.

From the inventive jazz sounds of the Julian Gerstin Sextet to theater and dance composition, from ethnomusicological teaching to percussion workshops and the comprehensive book The Musicians Guide to Rhythm, he brings his love of drumming traditions and a broad range of the worlds music to audiences and students alike.

Perhaps none more so than here on his brand new album, Music for the Exploration of Elusive Phenomena (out now via Zabap Music).

1. American History (7:21)
2. Too Happy to Sleep (4:29)
3. After the Sleep of Lies (3:31)
4. Spruce Street (5:05)
5. Long Journey Home (6:38)
6. The Almost Happy Camel (3:35)
7. Remember and See (2:45)
8. La Casa Violeta (5:28)
9. Beautiful Blur (5:33)
10. Ways to Hear Each Other (3:41)
11. Serious Fun (6:10)
12. All Day Every Day (4:57)

This quite vibrant and heartwarming new album opens on the upbeat and euphoric American History (featuring Wanda Houston on vocals) and the Latin hipsway of Too Happy to Sleep and backs those up seamlessly with the late night ambiance of After the Sleep of Lies (both with Sarah LeMieux on vocals, Zara Bode also on the former), the gently perky Spruce Street, the finger-snapping, R&B elegance of Long Journey Home (LeMieux, Bode) and then the playful The Almost Happy Camel is brought forth.

Up next is the flute-led magnificence of Remember and See which is in turn backed by my own personal favorite here, the alto and tenor sax work found on the rhythmic La Casa Violeta (with LeMieux and Mario Inchausti), and then comes the aptly-named Beautiful Blur, with the album rounding out on the spoken word Ways to Hear Each Other (featuring vocals from Carlene Raper), the upbeat and smarmy Serious Fun, closing on the beat-tastic rhythms of All Day Every Day.

This is a Covid-19 album, recorded in a year when it was impossible for musicians to gather together or bring music to live audiences, Gerstin explains. Each musician recorded at home and our engineer Gary Henry assembled their separate tracks into something coherent.

It is also a Covid-19 album in the choice of material: these are not-really-jazz pieces that my main band, the Julian Gerstin Sextet, could not use, but the band was not working so why not record them?

The songs are in styles I love from around the world, and are mostly fun and danceable. The album is dedicated to my teachers Milford Graves and Diane Moser, both of whom passed away during this difficult year.

Amazon Digital Purchase Link

Julian Gerstin Sextet @ Facebook