DEEP ENERGY ORCHESTRA
Playing With Fire
(2018 - 7D Media - USA)
From nimble eastern world fusion to gorgeous prayer-like passages, the musical affair on 'Playing With Fire' is superb and filled with true spirit. Listening to the CD is refreshing but I wholeheartedly recommend you also buy the companion DVD, which is even more exciting to see the glow coming from each participant. Jason Everett (also known as Mr E) from Washington State, plays a custom 7 string fretless bass and 6 string acoustic basses, brought this group of musicians together to perform his collection of compositions, and make an album of the utmost quality. Joining Jason are V. Selvaganesh – kanjira and custom drum kit/ Trey Gunn – Warr Guitar/ Radhika Iyer – 7-string electric violin/ Anil Prasad – tabla/ Rachel Nesvig – violin/ Aleida Gehrels – viola/ and Phil Hirschi – cello. The album was done live over a two-day recording session at the Jack Straw Cultural Center in Seattle, WA as part of an Artist Residency award.
With two covers only (Mahavishnu Orchestra’s ‘Lotus Feet’ , and 'Amazing Grace' which ends the album), Everett produces a flawless exploration into far eastern fusion with mountain high skill from each musician. Using meticulous Indian based styles, adding in occasional jazz rock and flamenco to spice things up, complex time signatures, well hinged changes, beautiful dynamics, and haunting melodies, the music makes for a striking listen. Even more so, the extraordinary spirit of the entire cast of players is caught on DVD, and lets the audience in on the tenacity of the event.
Jason's writing skills are a treasure. Trey Gunn feels the same way. The bass is not pushed up front, or ever overbearing. It is a sign of professionalism, and that of great taste. The compositions are also as smooth as silk, and although there is a lot going on, the ear fatigue is non existent. 'Playing With Fire' is absolutely for fans of 70s eastern fusion greats such as Tri Atma, Ravi Shankar, John McLaughlin, and the more laid back stuff from Mahavishnu Orchestra. I have a two part interview with Jason Everett that will be connected to this review soon. This release made my TOP CHOICES of 2018 list so I obviously recommend it. And hat's off to the genuine camaraderie between the musicians of this project. Jason chose well.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 12 - 20 - 2018