Third and final chapter for the experimental ethnic jazz fusion band CODONA featuring CO-llin Walcott, DO-n Cherry and NA-ná Vasconcelos. Through their three album run on the German jazz label ECM this band explores the many far reaches of the globe with a whole arsenal of musical instruments mixing and commingling like the ancients never thought possible. While the first album was a bit more straight forward offering a glimpse into the possibilities of mixing American jazz, African traditionals and classical Indian music into a sonic cauldron, the second album upped the ante with the experimentation cranking the avant-garde up a few notches and demanding a more dedicated listen to figure out the delicate assembly of parts involved. With CODONA 3 that experimentation is maintained only this time it flows a bit better than that of 2 making it a slightly less demanding listen but still one that will satisfy the adventurous music lover.
The longest track is the opener “Goshakabouchi” which is based on a Japanese traditional piece but takes us much further around the globe than Godzilla ever dared to roam. It begins with sparse Indian bells but eventually is joined by Cherry’s signature trumpet sound in an extremely slow tempo and sparsely laid out sonic effect. As the tempo picks up we get new sounds from the caxixi (a high pitched drum), a hammered dulcimer and talking drum.
We then move on to an African traditional reminding me of the music of West Africa with the Mandinka tribe coming to mind with “Hey Da Ba Doom” which is heavily percussive and hypnotic because of its repetitive nature. The sanza and doussn’gouni dominate this soundscape.
“Travel By Night” is an odd mid-tempo number with sitar as the dominant instrument with a subordinate trumpet and berimbau peaking in to embellish the rhythmic developments
“Lullaby” is a multi-layered sitar track but sounds more like in an African musical context. It has a strange way of expressing chords through the sitar and one of the most non-Indian pieces i have ever heard using this instrument
“Traya Boia” is a strange multi vocalizing track with multiple chants scattered about eventually accompanied by smooth trumpet notes and high pitched background wails.
“Clicky Clacky” is yet another original design. It begins and ends with a train whistle and the theme is of a hobo during the American Great Depression of the 1930s catching trains and moving on from town to town, however with a sitar and tabla with a blues singing style, it evokes a very surreal sound indeed
“Inner Organs” is the second longest track and is backed up by a Floydian “Saucerful Of Secrets” drone organ sound which gets joined by a tabla, caxixi, sanza (thumb piano), some foreign language spoken lyrics and triangles and takes us on a nice pleasant journey in a nice and mellow way. Cherry contributes his famous trumpet sounds that sound like an elephant. Very cool