edo castroEdo Castro – Phoenix (Passion Star Records)

Official URL: http://www.edocastro.com/

BELOW AVERAGE/AVERAGE/ABOVE AVERAGE/STELLAR

 

(SAN FRANCISCO) Edo Castro and slew of guest musicians released a magnificent CD called Phoenix (2006). It’s an incredible Jazz album that gleefully dances up and down the spectrum of modern jazz music with amazing Improvised performances and a breathtaking amount of sheer musical dynamics. Castro has earned some impressive musical accolades from critics and audiences alike for his work over the years.

 

Edo has put his signature on over 20 local CD projects and has performed/recorded with David Amram, Mark Walker, Hassan Kahn, Pete Cosey, Roy Haynes, Fareed Haque, David Onderdonk, Ed Thigpen, Johnny Griffin, Joel Harrison, Jim Trompeter, Ian Doogle, Deborah Winters, Jill Knight, Paul Van Wageningen, Caroline Aiken, Dan Zinn, Bethany Pickens, Michael La Macchia, Armando Peraza, Caren Armstrong, Percy Howard, Mike Molenda, Stu Hamm, Lorn Leber, George Brooks, Eric Doc Smith, Michael Manring, Mark Egan, Yves Carbonne, Todd Johnson and David Friesen. Opening with the invigorating “Beneath an Evening Sky” through the lingering musical fabric of “Rise” the album hits on all cylinders.

 

Some may recall Track 1 “Beneath an Evening Sky” is a Ralph Towner remake. Comparing the 2 tracks it’s mesmerizing how Castro has transformed this piece to his own musical interpretation. Phoenix” is an eclectic mixture of all the best modern jazz has to offer, but what even more amazing it sounds as if each selection on this recording is a first take whose beginning, middle and end was unknown at the outset. The music herein is perfect for just sitting back and jamming out to, or playing in the car for a long drive. Many songs are in extended play format as you would expect. While each track does have a unique feel and groove, every song on “Phoenix” delivers Top Tired Jazz syncopation that will satisfy any aficionado. Of particular on many tracks you will discover smooth, full, soothing bass-guitar work from Castro.

 

His playing is beautiful while retaining a masculine fullness that compliments the skillful array of sounds from the rest of members. My top 3 tracks are: ‘Song for the Electric Whales”, “Chance of Rain” and “Blue Asia.” 6 tracks were composed by Castro, 2 by Blue, and 1 by Towner. “Phoenix” has a high degree of X-Factor present between the notes. What is X-Factor? It’s the passion within. Though I could be wrong I suspect musical influences are as follows: Pat Metheny, Steve Smith (Vital Information) Wes Montgomery, Ralph Towner and Al Di Meola just to name a few.

 

Phoenix features the following: Edo Castro (Bass), Paul Van Wageningen (Drums), George Brooks (Saxophone), Ian Dogole (Percussion), Debopriyo Sarkar (Tabla), Lorn Leber (guitars) Tommy Kersecker (vibraphone), Rob Powell (10 String Pedal Steel) Mark Egan (8 String Bass), Robert Rich (Percussive loops) Jonathan Moe (Drums), Blue (Flutes).

 

Edo Castro lends an incredible playing touch and deserves a lot of credit for bringing this amazing CD to your ears. He’s one Jazz bassist with a lot of musical personality that shines like a priceless gem,  To sum it up: I give “Phoenix” by Edo Castro an enthusiastic nine out of eight of 10 stars and highly recommend this album to any fan of jazz or progressive jazz-funk-blues. Grab yourself a copy and kick up your heels to some solid jazz! It definitely sets the standard for this rather elitist outlier genre.

Purchase Link: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/edocastro

Review by Trevor Gray (UK)

edited by Heather Savage
Review comments; heathersavage5@gmail.com