Schawkie Roth

Dance of the Tao

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This album was created by spiritual composer and multi-instrumentalist Schawkie Roth to accompany tai chi exercises of master Al Huang. The album begins with an excerpt from "Heaven on Earth," a mellow, free form piece with flutes, piano, and the sounds of a brook. Surprisingly, "Wave Follows Wave" is a quickly paced and uplifting Latin jazz improvisation for saxophones, piano, string bass, flute, conga, and percussion. It's a snazzy piece, followed by a more pensive section, but it is hard to fit the music into the program of the album; one would suppose tai chi music to be gentle and fluid, like "Inside Hollow Bamboo/Conversations With a Stream." This is a sublime set with softly echoing flutes and a delicate brook. Side two begins with a set of specific vocal toning singalong exercises (sounds are printed in the liner notes); piano and flute accompany the tones. "Dance of the Bamboo" is another cool yet mellow jazz ensemble improvisation, which again may leave listeners puzzled as to the intent of the album. Roth, by the way, is a wonderful sax and flute player with both serene and mellow tones and acrobatics to spare.

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