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Gongzilla - East Village Sessions CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.88 | 13 ratings

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4 stars More superb jazz-rock in the tradition of Pierre Moerlen's Gong.

I liked Gongzilla's SUFFER a lot: it was a succesful attempt to revive the type of music you can hear on two of my favourite prog albums of all time, GAZEUSE and ESPRESSO II.

In many ways, EAST VILLAGE SESSIONS is just as good: you get the same immaculate combination of marimba and vibes (played by Benoit Moerlen), fat electric bass (played by Hansford Rowe), Allan Holdsworth-influenced virtuoso guitar (mainly played by Bon Lozaga; Holdsworth himself isn't present this time) and drums. It's a killer recipe, the melodies are lovely, the solos inspired, and best of all: the drumming on EAST VILLAGE SESSIONS (by Gary Husband) sounds considerably more refined and Pierre Moerlen-like than the drumming on SUFFER.

In other words, what you get here is a somewhat leaner version (no sax, no violin, only one vibist) of Pierre Moerlen's Gong at its best. The album takes a while to get going (the two opening tracks are on the sluggish side) but once you've accepted that you're not going to hear a lot of fast playing, I think you can cope with this situation... Benoit, Rowe and Gonzaga expand Gongzilla's horizon by including some "ethnic melodies" (impossible to go wrong on marimba!), some far-out electric noodling in the style of David Torn, and even a couple of melodies that bring to mind early 1980s King Crimson.

I hear Gongzilla have taken the "soft funk" route of late (as of summer 2009) but there's no indication of that on EAST VILLAGE SESSIONS, which I recommend to everyone interested in top-drawer jazz-rock.

fuxi | 4/5 |


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