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Album Review

Christian Burchard's world music fusion band Embryo has long been a running project of nearly inconceivable depth and breadth. This 1979 live album brings together recordings from an Asian and Indian tour featuring the Embryo sextet with saxophonist Edgar Hofmann, guitarist Jay Zier, bassist Uwe Mullrich, Friedemann Josch on flutes, Michael Wehemeyer on harmonium, and Burchard on marimbas, along with special guest and Embryo alumnus Charlie Mariano on soprano saxophone. What made this tour special was the addition of the Karnataka College of Percussion, a 12-piece Indian percussion ensemble, to the proceedings led by T.A.S. Mani. The result is nothing less than the total synthesis of Embryo's otherworldly sound, crashing, loping, and improvising around set rhythmic and harmonic patters, augmented by the sophistication of this brilliant percussion ensemble who never, ever, overplays. There are four pieces here, the most satisfying of which is the opener, "Cello, Cello" — and that could be because it is just such a surprise, as everything here rocks! The level of improvisation here is so intimate, so symbiotic as to be literally almost scary that this kind of communication can take place between musicians — many of whom have never played together before. Literally, these four selections will astonish you at the very least, and perhaps even take your breath away.

Biography

Born: 12 November 1923 in Boston, MA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Charlie Mariano's career can easily be divided into two phases. Early on he was a fixture in Boston, playing with Shorty Sherock (1948), Nat Pierce (1949-1950), and his own groups. After gigging with a band co-led by Chubby Jackson and Bill Harris, Mariano toured with Stan Kenton's Orchestra (1953-1955) which earned him a strong reputation. He moved to Los Angeles in 1956 (working with Shelly Manne and other West Coast jazz stars), returned to Boston to teach in 1958 at Berklee, and the following...
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