JOHN CRAWFORD: ULÍA RIVER OF TIME
(Monpas Records. Recording Review by Kai Hoffman)
From beat one of the album-launch at the 606 last month, I couldn’t wait to hear John Crawford’s new recording. The live gig had me engrossed, and I didn’t want it to end. With “Ulía River of Time,” John and his band have achieved a rare feat, and have captured the kinetic energy of their live performance.
Just as on stage, this recording immediately insists upon the listener’s complete and undivided attention. You are transported to an exotic land of delicate beauty, majestic landscapes and wild intensity.
‘Rio Ancho’, originally written by Flamenco guitar master Sanchez Gomez is a particularly shining example of John’s virtuosic Latin-piano expertise. With ‘Erghen Diado’, John masterfully translates an intricate Bulgarian choral arrangement into a vast, electrically-charged instrumental soundscape, whilst ‘Mi Chiquita’ is an ethereal beauty – painting evocative pictures of faraway destinations. ‘Madrid’, one of two vocal tracks on the album, is truly poignant, with guests Emma Blackman (vocals) and Trevor Mires (trombone) delivering heart-felt performances of this unusual tune by Israeli bassist Avishai Cohen. ‘Flower of the Levant’, John Crawford’s original tune on the album, showcases entrancing communication between the players, with special guest Jorge Bravo on guitar.
For those of us in desperate need of winter sun, Ulía River of Time is the next best thing to flying off on a round-the-world tour, a journey I look forward to making many more times.
Ulía River of Time is available for download from CD Baby and Amazon