(2019 - In and Out of Focus Records - Europe)
Five years in the making, this is Udo Pannekeet's second solo album. His debut was 'On' (2013) with Jeroen van Vliet/Erwin Vann/Pascal Vermeer. He may be more well known to the world as the famed bassist for Focus (for last 3 years, most notable on 'Focus 11'), but was previously a member of Isotope, Tim Langedijk Trio, Juju Bros, Satori Society and his own quintet Pitch Pine Project.
Comprised of five compositions 'Electric Regions' starts off with the one and only extended title piece "Electric Regions Part One" (there is no Part Two on this album, so perhaps we will see that on a future recording) clocking in at 23:15. Trying to guess all the styles beforehand is futile. Simply put, it is best to just go buy the release and listen to the fruits of Udo's labor. This is nothing like Focus, but a raffle of anything and nearly everything. From an exotic beginning, funky jazz big band nod, groove floor dance and boogie-woogie, parts that kick into larger than life expansions of fusion. The many flavors come from both Pannekeet's head and the large variety of former band mates, and friends. Those musicians included here are: Marcel Serierse - drums, percussion / Rein Godefroy - piano, synths / Jelle Roozenburg - guitars, baritone guitar / Martijn van Iterson - guitar / Eef Albers - guitar / Menno Gootjes - guitar (also a Focus member) / Tim Langedijk - guitar / Ilja Reijngoud - trombone / Jan van Duikeren - trumpet / Nils van Halften - saxophones, bass clarinet / Tom Beek - tenor saxophone / Remco de Landmeter - flutes / Rene ten Cate - vibraphone / Jos de Haas - percussion / and the man himself, Udo Pannekeet - bass, synth-bass, synths, vocals, drum programming.
At times I hear Neil Ardley, but more influences seep in, and nothing is stagnant or listless. Curveballs of minimalism, floating big band charts, busy jazz transfers, organ led bridges along the way, and ritual chant, holy ground, and celestial space exploration all happens like a python crawling thru a multiple terrain and twilight zone of time. With so many dimensions, so much in one arrangement, the things you hear are almost dizzy in display. You may even hear a flash of early Bruford (in his early solos with Holdsworth, Stewart, and Berlin). Then there is the reflective and poetic 'Little Nura" (track #3). Simply beautiful. This reminds one of Eberhard Weber. 'The Antibes Situation' (track #4) kicks into a hybrid of bassist Jonas Hellborg and stage shaking early American jazz masters aura. Very strong vibes.
This special album ends with 'Cocon Cocon', that brings together most of the ingredients of the previous moments in short order, yet spreads one more musical environment for the listener. The joy lies in your ability to sit quietly with close friends or alone, without cell phones, kids screaming, a nagging partner, or around hyper minded self centered dunces, and just listen and let the flow in. This is a treat. RECOMMENDED.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 2 - 27 - 2020