Saxophonist Michael Blake spent a month living in Vietnam with his wife and her family. Kingdom of Champa, which has six of his originals plus the traditional "Folksong," is his tribute to the country and the time that he spent in the exotic and troubled land. The music is often quite Asian-sounding, utilizing a wide variety of instruments (including bass clarinet, slide trumpet, bass flute, tuba, and cello) in unusual combinations with the emphasis often on ensembles rather than solos. The music is atmospheric, adventurous, and unpredictable modern jazz beyond category. It makes for an intriguing listen, a strong and heartfelt set by Michael Blake and his talented sidemen.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow