The first track and last track of the recording starts quietly. It has such a tentative beginning that it was necessary to turn up the volume a few notches. With their latest recording, Vast, East West Quintet (EWQ) has compiled a recording of original music from all members. The articulation and boldness of the songs in Vast traverse boundaries between rock-jazz and avant-garde jazz.
With Mike Cassedy on keys; Ben Campbell on bass, and Jordan Perlson on drums the style is innovative rhythms that are solid backdrops to the array of moods provided by Dylan Heaney on the saxophones and Simon Kafka doubling as rhythm and soloing and riffing on the guitars. The first track, “The Triumph” is an invitation to be more curious about the rest of the offerings which is a cacophony of tasteful musicianship. It’s a must to listen to this CD with headphones on to catch the subtleties of the craftsmanship these gentlemen have honed in their art. Jordan Perlson drumming and Cassedy’s playful call and response is pure is ear candy on track 2, “Catalyst”. “Vast Pt 1” and “Vast Pt 2” (tracks 3 and 4) are Kafka’s compositions. Vast Part 1 starts off with a quiet guitar intro which sets up the saxophone. The guitars, bass and drums build a quietly into Vast Part 2 - simple rhythms and dissonant piano comping that has overtones of rock rhythms from Kafka’s guitar.
Next up is “Over the Falls” (a composition by Cassedy), and it starts with the baleful tones from the sax which is akin to a New Orleans street funeral which veers to a welcome melodic tune which is a nice breather from the heavier moods of the first act. It’s not long before EWQ takes off with “Comet”. I like the boldness of this song because it challenges the norm. Is it rock or is it jazz?
Juxtapositions of two disciplines which intrigues the brain. My corpus callosum is on overdrive. “Daffodil 11” is a composition from Campbell. It’s well constructed and I like the guitar work on this one because of the Evanesque melody, and the rest of the song is a bittersweet discordant notes and comping from the keys and sax. And yet again, the band plays another song by Kafka which is the 8th track called, “View from Above”. The style is like Vast Part 1 and Part 2. Experimental sounds of irony.
The last two tracks, “Gangster Rap” and “Brooklyn” are nice wrap ups to the recording. There are fat juicy tones from the sax with staccato backups in “Gangster Rap”. It is a fun tune with an R & B feel. The last song, “Brooklyn” is like “The Triumph” in its almost shy whisper of goodbye. It’s a tantalizing song which made me want to listen to whole CD over again because I wanted more brain candy.
Vast will stretch your imagination. -----ANALYN REVILLA