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Living the Life at the North Sea Jazz Festival by Joshua Samson & Extended Lifestream

The air filled with the intoxicating fragrance of flowering jasmine and roses.... so read the program notes in Joshua Simon’s "Living the Life at the North Sea Festival." This live concert was recorded in the Hague in 2002 and allowed Joshua Simon and this troupe to perform without restriction. And so they do. The performance given allowed the musicians to play a fantastical and hypnotic concert that range from a variety of fascinating sources. The initial piece, entitled ‘4 Pete,’ is a clever reinterpretation of Balinese gamelan music which sets the mood of entering an exotic musical world. ‘Passionara/Brim of the Day’ is complimentary piece in that it continues with a strong percussive rhythm with an Indian bent, but this time adds the clarity of a piano that serves as a juxtaposition between traditional and modern worlds. A single graceful saxophone begins ‘1 of 2’ in a matter that in fragments resembles ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ to evoke the strangeness of a musical landscape that sometimes sound Asian, other times American, resulting a stark, eerie, place that is neither. The expectation on ‘K& J’ would be a continuation of this netherworld, but instead it is firmly set within a jazz world of saxophone and trumpet. It has the elegant simplicity of a brilliant, single rose perched precariously on the fire escape of a brownstone building. But that illusion softly evaporates with ‘6,’ a gorgeous piece that uses these strong pillars of jazz with Indian percussion. This extraordinary piece fuses the world together in way that reaches almost a Coltrane-like plateau at times, using an Indian raga to serve as a base for exhilarating jazz. ‘Joshua Sam’ builds on this mood but then changes as it momentarily drifts into Spanish-like waters and then back again. Like the prior pieces, ‘Dhoomra’ is a gorgeous synthesis of Indian and American jazz, if only in the opening where there is strong percussion mixed with a glimmering piano, but there piece goes far beyond this. The trumpet which at first sounds Indian transforms into something sounding like Freddie Hubbard. The finale is ‘Desert Vibes’ that exorcises the dreaminess of the intoxicating tropical soundscape with a stark vocal chant that sounds only vaguely Middle-Eastern with a splash of Broadway and then distinctly Brazilian, if that is possible. Somehow Joshua Samson and this troupe make this music sound perfectly flawless with the freedom of using various pedals of influences into something unique and intoxicating.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Joshua Samson & Extended Lifestream
  • CD Title: Living the Life at the North Sea Jazz Festival
  • Genre: World Music
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: Apple on the Moon
  • Tracks: 4 Pete, Passionara/Brim of the Day, 1 of 2, K & J, 6, Joshua San, Dhoomra, Desert Vibes
  • Musicians: Joshua Samson (percussion); Marc van Roon (grand piano & melodica); Tony Overwater (double bass); Maarten Ornstein (saxophone and grinata); Angelo Verploegen (trumpet and flugelhorn); Gija “Mestre” van Straalen (musical director percussion group); Barbara van Houten, Esther Polvliet, Juliette Brans, David Samson, Terence Samson, Martijn Groen, Tjerk Ridder, Jeffrey Patty, Vladimir Berkhemer, Merlijn van Oortmerssen, Boukje Kassenaar (Art in Rhythm percussion & vocal group)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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