John Wubbenhorst and Facing East

Facing Beloved

featuring the South Indian Drum Masters

Facing East Productions 03050541

John Wubennhorst, Flutes (bansuri and western flutes); Subash Chandran, ghatam, konnakot (vocal percussion); Ganesh Kumar, kanjira; Steve Zerlin, bass and Jorge Zamorano, guitar.

1. Continuous Celebration 2. Bass Alap 3. John Beyond 4. Prelude for Debby 5. Irish Prelude 6. Irish Raga 7. There is Only Light 8.Infectuoso Groovatissimo 9. The Light Above Religion's Mind 10. Facing Beyond 11. Celebrating Continuous.

Jazz musics' flirtations with music of various international cultures gave life and breath to, 'world music'. A rather nebulous genre to say the least, 'world music' none the less reveals itself to be rather rich in resource. But one must keep in mind its 'other worldly' nature. Many have sipped at the 'world music' fusion trough, few have given forth-eternal springs.

The music of flutist John Webbenhorst's Facing East is just the kind of disc that neatly fits the 'world music' groove. And a groove it is by shifting its worldly weight around the globe in areas to produce Celtic jigs, South Indian traditional ragas, and European classical themes along with American Jazz melodies.

Well armed with a battery of all manner of flutes, Wubbenhorst sticks mainly to the traditional bamboo flute. And while he will not dazzle with technical wizardry he does possess a full throated, easy facility that is quite an amiable cushion beneath the music. For the music is the primary focus here not Wubbenhorst as soloist, much to his credit.

Right out of the gate from the first track Continuous Celebration sets the overall tone and texture. But the most fascinating track is 'John Beyond', dedicated to John McLaughlin. A reverential nod to the guitarist's Mahavishnu incarnation and influence. Highlighted by Subash Chandran's South Indian 'vocal percussion', the Asian equivalent of American Jazz scatting it is the sessions pinnacle piece. Chandran's guttural loops and dips cleave to the rapid fire percussion just as would a King Pleasure vocalise mirror a James Moody sax solo. It works, and well.

While not an over-the-top recording it is quite an insightful and enlightening excursion at a peaceful world pace.

by Lofton Emenari, III

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