The Halifax Coast
In the world of Jazz, the mere mention of the word "fusion" brings to mind a wholly confusing post-Bitches Brew era that many believe should be forgotten. So let us cast aside those images and instead let Strang music re-define the essence of fusion. With the band's first two award winning albums of Strang, west coast fusionists Zubot and Dawson have synthesized the raw elements of jazz, folk, roots and world beat music seamlessly into music that is unlike anything you have ever heard before, yet, at the same time sounds so wonderfully familliar. With Chicken Scratch, the band's third release, it continues to evolve - this time perhaps with a more mellow tone. Boomer's Hill Road breathes modal jazz under a Bill Frisell-style guitar theme, Hoedown is a little bluegrass piece and Paloma has klezmer and calypso dancing an offbeat tango in the hot sun. The slower pace may have something to do with producer Lee Townsend's experience with Bill Frisell and Pat Methany. And while it may be somewhat of a change for fans used to the bands' livelier output, it is no less engaging. Simply wonderful musicianship.
- Dave Hayden