John Lesaca

Fiddler On The Loose

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On violinist John Lescaca's Fiddler on the Loose, the music can be called "contemporary jazz," as some elements of jazz, including various improvised solos, are included. Some songs, however, can simply be called "instrumental music," as they are mostly note-for-note renditions, perhaps with some jazz flourishes here and there.

"Maalaala Mo Kaya?" (Will You Remember?) is a Philippine evergreen, given a spirited, jazz-influenced treatment here, replete with an electric guitar solo and stirring improvisation by Lescaca on violin. "Bakit" (Why) is a plaintive, note-for-note rendition of a Philippine love song and features only piano and violin. "Ariana" is an interesting affair and begins as a fugue, Lesaca on violin playing a baroque-like musical figure, while another violin played by Lesaca enters in succession through overdubbing and repeats the figure. The song then becomes highly contemporary and contains bouncy rhythms and a searing electric guitar solo. "Kulintang" features an ethnic Philippine, xylophone-styled instrument with bamboo keys called the kulintang. The song begins on a Philippine folk ambience, then segues into a smooth, contemporary setting. "Song for a Lady" features spirited improvisation by Lesaca and also has an imaginative bass solo by bassist Colby de la Calzada.

While the album has good intentions, John Lesaca's violin playing is spotty. It is sometimes sharp, but often it isn't so sharp and it sounds sluggish and lacks fluidity. Because of this, the songs don't generate as much excitement as they should, despite the imaginative arrangements and talented session musicians on the album.

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