Exlibris John Sund : The Open Road -a travelogue in four parts-(DK/GH/N/IND,2011)****
This new album by John Sund gives the impression of the journey of a few years work and with this there have been some changes of evolutions. The band starts very much in a warm outside milieu of some African country, playing close to the easy and warm atmosphere and very close to that African sound that breezes from it. But there’s a Jazz Fusion band involved which shows its abilities upon returning. The second half is going closer towards that fusion style, after having been infused with life experiences. Then it shows the Indian musicians participation and influence with a few moods hanging slower there and with one funky groove to conclude with.
This was what I experienced before having looked at the titles and concept idea. There really was a distinction present in four parts, an African, a European, a Balkan Islands and an Indian part, and a musical story of influences going from one dominant area to the next without predestined results.
The African part is driven by guitars, lots of percussion and real African participants singing and some incorporated environmental sounds. “Oasis” is led by kora, with additional percussion and acoustic guitar. On the last part the main acoustic guitar piece and group singing returns, the full group adds body. On this first part we had John Sund (on “trash”guitar, for the main lead theme, electric guitar, bass, keyboards, drum programming, saples of natural sounds), Ayi Solomon (percussion, vocals, narrative voice), Dawda Jobareth (kora), Akinyi Nyawade (vocals), Moussa Diallo (bass) and Nano Osibio (bass) participating.
On the chamber-like “A Northern Song” we hear a very nice jazz skatting and improvised singing with sax harmonies (all by the Nordic Sissel Vera Pettersen) and acoustic guitars and some additional subtle arrangements with John Sund on electric and 12-string guitars, pads and percussion programming, John Ehde on cello, Morton Lundsby on contrabass and Andreas Markus on contrabass. It also has a small separate section with arpeggio-ing electric guitar outro with textures.
The next section starts with a chamber-music like intro. It turns quickly into a Zappaesque Rock/ In Opposition-like folk-chamber composition with very fast accordion, brass arrangements and some electric guitar improvisations. It grooves and increases with a wild but very controlled and tempering energy during the composition with improvisational energy.
This section has John Sund on electric guitar, darbuka and drumming, Lelo Nika on accordion, Andrzej Krejniuk on electric bass, Zolan Csorsz on drums, Rasmer Kroyer on clarinet and bass clarinet, Kasper Wagner on alto sax and Hans Nybo on tenor and barition sax.
The last section, “Sandy’s Journey” has several atmospheric parts, which totally loses itself in time, with use of environmental recordings and absorbing energies of instrumentation in the background. It works through these spheres towards a jew’s harp swing with Indian rhythmic vocals and rather funky accompaniment, which after a few dreamier deeper slumber moments comes to return with this energy and groove. Here we have John Sund on acoustic guitars, bass, pads and drumloop programming, keyboards, “real sounds” and natural sound effects, Sandipan “Sandy” Chatterje on jew’s harp, tabla, bansuri, narrative voice and vocals, Palden Sherpa on lead vocals, Simon Andersen on slide guitar, Andrzej Krejniuk on electric bass and Zoltan Csorsz on drums.