Jazz Weekly | George Harris | March 2, 2017

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Club D’Elf: Live at Club Helsinki

Famed keyboardist John Medeski forms a new band that mixes grooves with electronics and Middle eastern sounds. Together with  Brahim Frigbane/oud-perc, Duke Levine/g, Mister Rourke/dj, Mike Rivard/b, Dean Johnston/dr and Thomas Workman/fl  the band is recorded at a 2012 gig in New York. There’s an intriguing mix of electric guitar blues, funky beats and keyboards with electronic effects on pieces like “Africa” and “Secret Aton,” and with Workman’s flute, Al-Hadra” adds extra mournings to the Saharan caravan. Central Asian voices and spacey synths join together on “Salvia” with a raga on “Hegaz” that melds rich percussion with Medeski’s oozing B3. Some good old rock and metal is driven hard with “Sidi Rabi” and a loping cadence supplied by RIvard makes “Zeed AL Maal” quite soulful. A collision of civilizations that claims no victims.

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