CD REVIEW: Dewa Budjana with Jimmy Johnson & Vinnie Colaiuta – Surya Namaskar

Dewa Budjana with Jimmy Johnson & Vinnie Colaiuta – Surya Namaskar
(MoonJune Records 24/96kHz. CD Review by Eric Ford)

Dewa Budjana is the leader of multi-million-selling Indonesian pop/rock band Gigi, but also something of a guitar hero in his own right, and on this CD sounds like he’s having a dream trip to L.A.to play in the style of and with some of his own musical heroes.

Perhaps most apparent amongst these is Allan Holdsworth, whose fans will already have recognised that on this album Dewa has enlisted the services of the same great bass and drum team, Jimmy Johnson and Vinnie Colaiuta, which graced Holdsworth’s 1989 album Secrets. The similarity even extends to the presence of Gary Husband on keys on track 1 of both albums. Twenty-five years since “Secrets” was recorded (and in Dewa’s fiftieth year), it’s a smart move on his part. They’re given the freedom to do what they do so brilliantly; it’s certainly not a run-of-the-mill session for these guys and Vinnie Colaiuta, especially, is given much to chew on. Drummers will enjoy his across-the-barlines inventiveness in 6, 7, 9 and 11 (amongst other time signatures) and the general ferocity of his ( potentially disruptive) rhythmic onslaught. Dewa manages to sail unperturbed through the mayhem, and Gary Husband produces a scorching solo. It’s generally exciting, “macho” L.A.fusion and you’ll know from that description whether or not it’s likely to appeal to you. A couple of the slower tracks border on cheesiness in places but there’s an unexpected soundscape from the Far East on track 5 (with more guest musicians) and some tasty acoustic guitar from Michael Landau on track 7.

If you like chopsy guitar fusion, or are a fan of Jimmy Johnson or Vinnie Colaiuta, you will enjoy this album. I would especially urge anyone who likes Vinnie’s playing to treat themselves to this. It’s spectacular even by Vinnie’s standards.

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