Pushing the envelope of creativity has always been a by-product of jazz music; but unfortunately, some artists have maintained a less than enthusiastic attitude about elevating the consciousness of the genre to a higher level of intuitiveness. Every now and again, there comes a light to illuminate the music in a manner conducive to it being an American art form. With the release of Hidden Mandala, keyboardist Marc Rossi has definitely followed a rich tradition of ever-evolving, charismatic, improvisational excellence.
Although the album was originally recorded in 2004, Hidden Mandala has followed a straight-ahead approach to jazz that has been inundated with Indian stylized Hindustani and Carnastic musical influences. For the most part, whenever the elements of another culture are infused into any composition, listeners are provided with a varying perspective of a different sort. Closer inspection reveals that much of this recording has esoteric colorings of Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk and a tinge of free jazz attached to its sphere of conveyance. With that being said, this CD cuts a path that invigorates the senses with a level of exposure seldom heard in jazz today. The onset of the so-called smooth jazz phenomena has pushed the trend towards a more generic form rather than creative. The opportunity to expand upon the intuitive creative spirit that comes from within has been practiced in recent years; instead, Marc Rossi and his band of merry men have provided an over-the-top view of jazz possessing a twist.
While Hidden Mandala carries another level of influence, the CD is definitely jazz music at its finest. Rossi’s opens the door of one’s listening palate and then invites the dynamics of instrumentalist Lance Van Lenten, percussionist Mauricio Zottarelii, bassist Bill Urmson and vocalist Geetha Bennett. Collectively, they come together with an impressive array of musical nuances. In addition, Rossi penned the compositions for the recording as well. But make no mistake about it, the combined elements that went into the making of this CD proves that the semblance of improvisation continues to exist. Marc Rossi has accomplished the unimaginable with the recording of Hidden Mandala. When examining the overall scope of this CD, the impact on the senses is appealing and pleasantly surprising.