Every once in a while, I come across a piece of music that defies my ability to classify in the purest sense of jazz. 'Circle of the Sun' on the Beave Music Label is one of those instances where I am truly baffled, but don't get me wrong, it is a remarkable recording in the highest degree.
Released in 2003 by the group Jazzhole, 'Circle of the Sun' is a combined mix of influences. This CD provides a unique collective of R&B licks, ambient Latin grooves, world music subtleties, dynamic rhythms, soulful melodies, acid jazz riffs and vocal enhancements on its way to delightful. This is the fourth recording for Jazzhole, which features Warren Rosenstein, John Pondel, and Marlon Saunders, three of the group's founding members. This time out, they are joined by a host of musical guests, including Naren Budhaker on tabla, percussionist Daniel Sadownick, vocalist Kaissa Doumbe and numerous other artists who provide an amazing spin on jazz. Although the overall structure of Jazzhole has evolved since its 1994 self-titled debut, the basic premise of the group has not changed. From the onset, the group has tapped into a variety of influences to create a special blend of jazz that works.
Consider the voice of vocalist Kaissa Doumbe on "Superstar". Originally recorded by none other than Leon Russell, Kaissa provides a special treat to this timeless classic. Hailing from Cameroon, she takes the song and weaves a seductive and soulful interpretation in her native language. Even in a language other than English, the track continues to groove. Marlon Saunders' takes the male side of jazz just as seriously. On the Maxwell-like track "Love Philosophy", Marlon's bluesy interpretation makes for a love activated sensual energy ray of delight. These two tracks are the crust of 'Circle of the Sun.' Through 12 luscious cuts, this CD goes the distance in providing music that is enjoyable, but also takes jazz to another level.
Jazzhole's latest recorded effort is filled with excitement and musical bliss. Unlike most acid jazz releases, 'Circle of the Sun' combines a variety of influences to create urban influenced jazz, without relying on heavy-handed electronic programming in entirety. This is one of those groups who can go the distance in making music that is not dull. Rhythmic expression and seductive grooves are the trademark of Jazzhole, all of which combined will add spice to your overall collective jazz library.