The international world music jazz cross-over trio features German multi-instrumentalist, Gernot Blume, American saxophonist, Peter Epstein, and American multi-instrumentalist, Julie Spencer with 63 minutes of original compositions and improvisations on their latest cd, „incantation”, featuring alto and soprano saxophones, harp, piano, bass, mandolin, marimba, drums, percussion, and voice.
The highly developed multi-stylistic personalities of these three creative artists coalesce artfully in the new cd, which Epstein, Blume, and Spencer recorded on July 16, 2008 in Germany for Rector Records, following a tour of performances in Germany and Poland.
The music of Griot is imbued with a rare kind of authenticity in which intimate musical moments are unselfconsciously shared – between the artists, and offered to the listener in that shared space between hearts where music lives. „incantation” spans a horizon from peaceful introspection to fireworks of emotion, full of spiritual intensity, inviting and inspiring. It is a world of its own.
Epstein embraces the listener with his warm and intensely personal sound on soprano and alto saxophones, the fluidity of his soaring improvisations, and the surround-sound effect of his circular breathing. Spencer’s ethereal voice seems to float weightlessly, while the undulating rhythmic textures and melodic phrasing of her piano, drum, and marimba playing are radiant with expressive sensitivity.
Blume’s fine touch on the harp creates a feeling of expansive dimension, complementing his wide range of experimental timbres on the bass and mandolin, and facile array of rich colors at the piano. The result of these three virtuosic musicians of Griot in musical dialog on „incantation” is spellbinding.
All compositions are by Gernot Blume and Julie Spencer, published by Norsk Musikforlag, Oslo Norway.
About the pieces
- Exodus (Blume)
- An expansive musical journey over a continuous drone. Alto saxophone, piano, marimba, voice and drums.
- Love (Spencer)
- Energetic variations on a characteristic motive in a 21 beat rhythmic structure. Alto saxophone, mandolin, bass, marimba and piano.
- The Answer (Blume)
- Angular melodic material, which accumulates tension suddenly released in surprising tonal cadences. Soprano saxophone, drums, piano.
- The Last will be First (Spencer)
- A densely structured piano vamp, and haunting melodic soprano saxophone lines juxtaposed with experimental bass textures.
- Pilgrimage (Blume)
- A peaceful theme on the harp spills into angelically hovering vocalizations and a simple lyrical melody on the alto saxophone.
- Incantation (Blume)
- A West African inspired 12/8 piece with voice that features surprising harmonic twists on the piano and a dialog between the African djembe drum and the alto saxophone.
- Truth (Spencer)
- Rhythmically pulsating structures rise from the development of simple and memorable melodic patterns.
- Falling Leaves (Blume)
- Long and intricately woven melodic lines, shared by piano and soprano saxophone, cascade over rapidly changing chords of a folk-like simplicity.
- First Movement (Spencer)
- The soprano saxophone’s haunting balladic melodies dialog with churning drum sounds, finally punctuated by calm and simple piano interjections.
- Aardvarks (Spencer)
- A joyful celebration of lyrical ideas poured into an edgy 5/4 meter, a bouncy yet relaxed conclusion to the broad discoveries of „incantation”.