British saxophonist Greg Lyons released "Island to Island" a creation that deserves a manner of comments.
London City will remember Greg for his Latin-jazz fusion compositions of the 80’s but Lyon’s capacity to mix up ethnic Caribbean, Brazilian, blues, rock and jazz rhythms impress greatly and is known throughout the world.
A fine improviser, Lyons has also mastered Asian rhythms. He performs with Toninho Horta, Nana Vasconcelos, Billy Cobham, John Etheridge, Alfredo Rodriguez, Patato Valdez, Loose Tubes, Grand Union, Radio Futura, Roberto Pla, Phil Manzanera, Terumasa Hino, Bebo Valdes, Eric Marienthal, Phil Perry among many others. In "Island to Island," Greg Lyon introduces us to highly skilled Southeast Asian musicians.
Mei Sheum is one of Singapore's great jazz musicians. Sheum is a fine pianist who has shared the stage with Kit Chan, David Pomeranz, Keiko Lee, Francis Yip, William So, Andy Hui, Wynton Marsalis, Ernie Watts, Eric Marenthal, Jim McNeely, Mark Levine and Hal Galper.
The force of her piano statement is astonishing. Mei Sheum dares the improvisational territory with grace and professionalism. Sheum's self-confidence is vital track after track. This lady grooves like hell and respects the traditional forms with a unique elegance.
Percussionist Steve Thornton, a Brooklyn native who now lives in Malaysia, has a heart of gold and delights us with an exceptional ability with his persistent drums on "Island To Island" and the subliminal "Child of The Forest."
Bassist Christy Smith ties the band together with his lyrical combinations and joyful vocal expressions. Drummer Lewis Pragasam is recognized worldwide for his capacity to blend all kinds of cultural voices, also considered 'one of the finest drummers in the world' by Sabian Cymbals (Canada) and 'the essence of the World Music combination of Southeast Asia and the West' by Percussive Notes Magazine
(USA). Lewis Pragasam imposes layers of rugged drums and wavering voices. The end result is a mixture of beats and free jazz with Latin-like percussions, all covered in enormous amounts of freedom with the whole serving as his setting.
"Island To Island" brings us to high combinations, an array of chords with tempestuous passages.... Is this the reason why this album is worthy now and again?