Reviews: Gordon Grdina: Think Like the Waves
|Site review by Christine Tham February 10, 2008
|I fell right at home with this jazz trio recording. The style is vaguely ECM-ish contemporary jazz, but Arabic/Middle-Eastern influences on some tracks. Gordon Grdina plays the oud (not quite sure what kind of instrument this is) and guitar, in a style that reminded me somewhat of Pat Metheny (when he's playing acoustic jazz guitar, as opposed to his trademark guitar synthesizer sound). The bassist is none other than Gary Peacock who is part of Keith Jarrett's trio, and Paul Motian on drums completes the trio.
Some pieces are almost 'straight-ahead', others go into extended free form improvisation that reminded me of Keith Jarrett or Ornette Coleman. All tracks are very listenable.
The multi-channel mix is 5.0, with the bass mixed predominantly to front left (bleeding into rear left, the drums into front center, and the guitar/oud into front right (bleeding into rear right). As a result, the sound stage is very enveloping, and I felt I was almost an invisible "fourth participant" joining the trio. Despite the rather active use of the surround channels, the mix is still sounded fairly front focused, so listeners who dislike instruments coming from behind won't be annoyed by this recording. However, the guitar bleeds quite profusely into the rear right channel on Track 6 (Ginger Root) to the point where I can clearly hear guitar transients coming from the surround right speaker.
All in all, if you like ECM jazz, you will really enjoy this album. The recording is quite nice sounding, but not "showy" (the dynamics are quite restrained, so this is probably not a good album to show off your system to audiophiles!).