Satanic is a title everybody who knows the religiously devout Ernie Krivda found confusing, even if the music is not. It's a reference to the fire-and-brimstone stance of the leader as opposed to any devil-driven, Antichrist verses being expounded upon. The tenor saxophonist departed from his native Cleveland for a West Coast stint with Quincy Jones, then headed to N.Y.C. to record this, his first album as a leader, with a group of metropolitan contemporaries like percussionist Ray Mantilla, drummer Bob Moses, pianist Gil Goldstein, and electric bass guitarist Jeff Berlin. The music is thoroughly modern, spikes on many staccato wavelengths over brazen dynamics, and displays Krivda's raw edge on tenor sax that is only the beginning of the style he would hone and identify as an original sound. There are two truly outstanding tracks on this album -- "Three Legged Dance" and "The Song of the Moor." The former is an insanely vibrant composition in 13/8 time, jumping all around via Krivda's multiplicity of accented kinetic notes the latter in an African or Mediterranean 4/4 mode with 6/8 beats inserted by Mantilla as the tenor man wails as if howling at the moon. Krivda plays wavering flute on the three-minute "The Piper," unusual unto itself as upper-level off-minor flourishes dance with Mantilla's hand percussion. "La Festival" is a crunching and frantic Afro-Brazilian workout for Krivda's choppy eighth- and 16th-note flights of fancy, and he switches to soprano sax for "Munchkin" in an introspective, wafting raft-at-sea motion. "The Magic Music Box" is a lovely, loping 4/4 piece with Krivda back on soprano, adding more stark contrast to this very diverse and intriguing set. Note that the CD release has the track order mixed up, and is also different than the lineup on the initial album.
AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos