All but two of the songs heard on Drift have been composed by Alex Chadsey. They are attractive, alluring miniatures, often written in a new-Romantic style and explore not only the octave range of the piano but also the effect of the heavily felted-hammers of the instrument always producing a refined tone like the one heard on the show-opener “Zephyr”. Another feature of Mr Chadsey’s work is that unlike many pianists they are not calculated to display virtuosity for virtuosity’s sake. Moreover, barring “Zephyr” this music is not written to carry literary, pictorial or biographical significance but to be taken purely on musical terms. There is also a somewhat concentrated – at times even volatile – nature as seen in his sudden and dazzling runs and vaunted arpeggios (as in “Spain”, Chick Corea’s masterpiece). Moreover, Mr Chadsey’s his works are never arduous and when he solos they sound like spontaneous improvisations.
Much of the work – played mostly in the style of Latin-Jazz, but always innovatively mixing various song forms – is played in long, unbroken lines. What also marks the pianism of Mr Chadsey is the way he decorates a simple phrase not as ornament for ornament’s sake but as a deeply-felt emotion. This kind of playing throughout the recording has a rippling effect on the other musicians as well. Farko Dosumov for instance displays a similar kind of approach to his playing on the bass and even when he is soloing and often making complex leaps on the fretboard he infuses his phrases with an emotional intensity that is close to becoming poetry of feeling. Jeff Busch is not expected to play with that gentility, but he keeps the music firmly in the pocket when pianist and bassist take off on extended excursions every so often and he uses his battery of drums and percussion instruments like an enormous rhythmic palette. The drummer’s ability to switch from dark to bright colours is beautifully displayed on “Subway” and “Choro”.
This is one of the more memorable recordings of Mr Chadsey and each note sounds fresh and alive and the pianist’s varied touch perfectly matches the mood of each piece and all are conjured up with a marvellous sense of elation. The pianist’s extraordinary touch – delicate and muscular at the same time – is on full display. The other members of Duende Libre too are on the same elevated musical plane and, together with the lithe and high-sprung voice of Chava Mirel it makes the experience of Drift something quite unforgettable.
Track list – 1: Zephyr (for Meltem); 2: Drift; 3: Spain; 4: Subway; 5: Choro; 6: Kiki; 7: Bosphorus
Personnel – Alex Chadsey: piano and keyboards; Farko Dosumov: electric bass and voice (7); Jeff “Bongo” Busch: drums and percussion; Chava Mirel: voice (1, 3, 4)
Label – Independent
Runtime – 46:51