Pandelis Karayorgis / Nate McBride / Curt Newton
Betwixt

[hathut, www.hathut.com]

Pianist Pandelis Karayorgis is someone whose records I've enjoyed over time. I recall liking his trios with bassist Nate McBride and percussionist Randy Peterson as well as his output with Guillermo Gregorio. I've even liked his early stuff with Mat Maneri. More recently, Karayorgis has set up a trio with Nate McBride and percussionist Curt Newton [which he called the mi3], which released an excellent album "Free Advice" late last year. Significant change of direction for the trio on their latest release "Betwixt" is a matter of basic fact. Karayorgis abandoned the piano for the session in favour of the Fender Rhodes. Much in the same way electric instruments changed Sun Ra's Arkestra during the 60's, the electric piano gives Karayorgis a big, fat wallop that seemed to be missing from past recordings. Much of the CD is made up of covers - Thelonious Monk, Misha Mengelberg, Wayne Shorter, Duke Ellington - which is perfect as the versions presented tend to deviate oftentimes a great amount from the originals. Cherry on top is the trio's take of Sun Ra's "Saturn". Meant as a true homage to the Man from Saturn, the tune is rolled up in jolly fun. While the leader sets up the key variations, the rhythm section follows along obediently. Title track features a duet between McBride and Newton [wish there were more subtle abstracts throughout the record], while "Curt's Escape" highlights a melancholy melody from the leader. Even McBride is given free reign and takes a brief finger-picked bass solo. Dripping with nostalgia, "Betwixt" is a session that looks backwards with a ton of respect, while oozing with heaps of fun.

- Tom Sekowski


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+ Sun Ra & The Omniverse Jet Set Arkestra - The Complete Detroit Jazz Center Residency. December 26, 1980 - January 1, 1981
+ Chrissy Zebby Tembo & Ngozi Family - My Ancestors
+ Joakim Skogsberg - Jola Rota

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