Panoramic’s debut CD, Rhythm Through The Unobstructed View, is a strong showcase for Trinidad-native Teague, one of the world’s best steelpan players. He won his first steelpan competition when he was 13, just one year after he began playing. He has since performed internationally and recorded several CDs, bringing him to this ensemble work.
The cool ringing tones of the steelpan can’t help but provoke images of palm-lined beaches, but Teague does his best to push the instrument beyond its island image and into new areas. He succeeds on "Orlando’s Cha-Cha," which begins quietly and then builds to a saxophone solo by Doug Stone and then some steelpan work. Orlando Cotto, who plays congas and marimba on the CD, is also prominently featured, giving the song an enticing mix of jazz and world music elements. "Nikkara" is loosely based on Bollywood grooves and borrows elements of Indian music. The song, "Panoramic," is a calypso number that gets the feet moving. And, "Ivory Coast" is distinguished by drums that gives the song an African feel, but Stone’s saxophone and Teague’s steelpan are added to make it something new.
All eight tracks are original numbers written by Teague or Chappell. Even with all of the different instruments and musical influences that seep into the CD, the album can’t help but belong to Teague. His fast, steady hands make the steelpan sing.
If you don’t like the instrument, you probably should stay away from this album. But, if you like the steelpan or are looking for something new, this is a good one.