Suns of Cosmic Consciousness

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It's encouraging to see that indie labels are still up for releasing real, honest to goodness free jazz that is more concerned with colorful, eclectic expression than in-the-pocket commercial considerations. The trio -- pianist Eli Yamin, bassist Adam Bernstein, and drummer/saxman/percussionist Andy Demos -- has been gleefully pushing the envelope for some 15 years, going progressive with a rock-jazz energy that here draws from influences like Thelonious Monk (an hypnotic, ultra-percussive African swing through "Rhythm-A-Ning"), Charles Mingus (a bouncy, happy go lucky "Remember Rockefeller at Attica") and Sun Ra (the frolicsome but graceful "Love in Outer Space.") Solar's originals are just as, if not even more compelling, ranging from Adam Bernstein's rhythmic, almost marching tour de force "Samba de Aztac" to Yamin's moody, Duke Ellington-like "Waltz on the Hudson." World music fans will groove especially to "Reincarnation 1968," a bright, wide-ranging journey through kirtan chanting which taps into the spirit of the Woodstock generation; its wordless chorus is sung by Yamin, Bernstein and guest vocalists Kate McGarry and Jane Kelly Williams. Other influences playing a part in this stirring mélange include rhythms from Brazil, Cuba and even India.

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