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Album Review

When not freely improvising with the likes of Derek Bailey or horsing around with inspired covers of avant rock classics, Henry Kaiser spent a great deal of time investigating the music of various non-Western cultures, often seeking common ground between native plucked instruments and American blues-based forms. Here he teams with the Korean kayagum master Sang-Won Park and percussionist Charles K. Noyes for an improvised session that refers equally to Eastern traditions and the avant-garde. The kayagum is a kind of 12-string zither, its bended-note properties often strikingly akin to blues guitar inflections. Kaiser wisely defers to Park, allowing him to lead the improvisations and thus keeping them largely within a serene, flowing framework. All of the selections tend toward the quiet and contemplative, with no flashy pyrotechnics or purposefully abrasive playing. Each musician instead contributes in a relaxed manner, sitting out when appropriate, commenting when the occasion requires. Invite the Spirit is a fine model of how this sort of international meeting can succeed with neither "side" attempting to overpower the other, but rather simply having a lovely, understated conversation. Recommended.

Invite the Spirit 1983, Charles K. Noyes
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