A decidedly different-sounding Colinda jumps off from the start with Romanescu and Harding trading statements on guitar and baritone. About a minute into Colinda the composition takes a turn from a funky, baritone punctuated piece to a more flowing jazz-rock groove. The contrast initially seems odd, however it comes full circle at the end. Harding has the last word, barking out the final phrase with Romanescu’s guitar underneath.
Bucharest Part I and Part II composed by Sam Newsome have heavier ethnic influences to my ears. The d harmonic minor tonality sets the stage for the ethnic sound. Oddly enough the traditional Romanian folk songs sound more “Americanized” and this composition by Newsome more exotic. Newsome takes time on both Part I and Part II to demonstrate some extended teqnicues on soprano such as the use of multiphonics. Dyson lends a nice bit of drumming during the vamp on Part II as well.
The cd ends with another feature composed by and performed by Ban and Newsome. Where is Home? Seems a fitting ending to this Romanian-American journey.
So in the end, what you have here on The Romanian-American Jazz Suite is some well thought out, well executed American jazz music. The Romanian influence is apparent after understanding the intent of Ban and Newsome. What is more at the forefront is some beautiful jazz playing by a very capable ensemble – whether from America, Romania or anywhere in between.