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Jazz Review : Garbarek In Gifted Quartet

September 15, 1987|DON HECKMAN

Jazz's remarkable capacity to absorb the talents of musicians from virtually every part of the world was on whole display Friday night at McCabe's Guitar Shop.

Saxophonist Jan Garbarek, leading a stunningly gifted quartet of international players--including Lars Jannson, Eberhard Weber and Nana Vasconsuelos--presented a program as creatively stimulating as any heard this year.

At the center of the music was Garbarek's moody tenor and soprano saxophone and flute work, surging with the dark tides of the Scandinavian fjords, contrasted dramatically with Vasconsuelos' sizzlingly bright Latin American percussion rhythms.

Performing with barely a pause between pieces and no announcements whatsoever, the Garbarek group stitched together a virtually seamless tapestry of musical images.

Among the highlights: Vasconsuelos' fascinating mixture of voice sounds with Chinese gong; his remarkable ability to add life and energy to a pre-set drum machine sequence; the drama and passion of a section that sounded like a haunted paso doble ; Garbarek's intense playing of a series of exotic wooden flutes; the startlingly interactive bass and synthesizer work of Weber and Jannson.

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