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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion

Chris Washburne And The Syotos Band

By Nils Jacobson
Published April 27, 2007

Land Of Nod

The restless energy and global awareness that Chris Washburne emphasizes in the liner notes to this fourth release by his SYOTOS band manifest themselves equally potently in the music. The trombonist/percussionist composed five of these nine pieces, including the three opening tracks, all fabulously furious in their wild celebration of Latin jazz and funk. (As a form of protest, each is titled after one of the altered colors of a now-faded American flag.) The rhythm section, four or five strong, provides the driving force through most of the record, allowing the three horn players to vamp, groove, swing, or cast themselves wildly into the abyss, as on the Ornette Coleman-like free jazz of “Op-Ed” or the frenzy of “Guantanamo.” Two slower experiments, a Ukranian folk song and Horace Silver’s “Peace,” lack the outright charisma of the faster, rawer pieces, where the group sounds its best—and that’s pretty damn good.