||Ron Korb - World Café
Album Review by Dyan Garris, NewAgeCD.com
"World Café" is a unique, phenomenal musical voyage brought forth to us by world traveler, award winning, and Grammy® nominated Canadian flutist, Ron Korb. Here we are invited warmly from the very first notes of the enticing, energetic, “Bailar Conmigo” (Dance With Me), into the vibrancy and excitement of the Latin Jazz Fusion world. Okay, Ron, let’s dance.
In this thoroughly exhilarating, zesty romp, that is "World Café," we are transported musically and emotionally to Spain, Cuba, South America, and even New Orleans. Accompanying the album is a twenty-four-page booklet containing pictures from interesting, inspiring places Ron has visited, along with his poetry, some lyrics, and liner notes. It’s an experience, truly, and reminiscent of when albums used to be albums.
Along with Ron, "World Café" features a most impressive cast of world-class master musicians, including the legendary Cuban Jazz pianist, Grammy® nominated Hilario Duran, among other notables. The varied instrumentation is spectacular, with guitar, acoustic bass, cello, piano, accordion, drums, and stellar percussion elements, all intermeshing in perfect communion with Ron’s flute artistry. On his travels, Ron has collected over 250 flutes. World Café features not only classical flute, but bass flute, bamboo flute, cuíca flute, twelve-hole ocarina, and the Japanese shinobu, as well.
Following the opening track, which has our feet tapping and our souls dancing, is the poignant, “Sans Regret,” which is literally, “without regret.” What’s interesting about this is the song is presented on the album two more times with completely different arrangements (“Sans Regret Reprise,” track 9, and “Sans Regret Finale,” final track 12), not only perhaps for our musical enjoyment, but possibly to underline and underscore that we should live our lives fully and with no regrets. We can have the same basic melody that runs through our lives, yet we can change things up in different and exciting ways anytime we choose to do so. Why confine yourself to one singular element in life? Instead, pick up your accordion, for example, and introduce some rich and unexpected elements into your journey.
Next up, we travel to “Cordoba,” Spain. This is an upbeat, catchy tune that you’ll want to listen to over and over again. To appreciate all the great nuances even further, headphones will enrich the experience. Here, the flute expertly mixes with guitar, acoustic bass, piano, and wonderful percussion into an enchanting Latin groove, perfectly capturing the spirit of the location.
The scintillating “Hilario” features the spectacular piano playing of Hilario Duran, mentioned earlier, who has worked with Dizzy Gillespie, Chucho Valdés and Arturo Sandoval, among other greats. The mix on this song is perfect, with everything – amazingly played flute, piano, congas, bass, and drums – all just working together beautifully in supreme harmony. The song feels distinctly Cuban, yet also distinctly “jazzy” at the same time. Love this. It’s wholly masterful.
It’s really challenging to pick a favorite on this album, but I am particularly enamored of “Island Life.” Here Ron is on the twelve-hole ocarina, which is balanced out with the bass flute for an even richer tapestry. Dual guitars, acoustic bass, drums, and again outstanding percussion, round things out, making this a truly transportive, lush, enjoyable escape.
The flowing “Argentina” mixes elements of the Tango with interesting, rhythmic Cuban/Afro-Cuban beats. “Take My Hand” is a delightful Brazilian saudade, evoking feelings of deep nostalgia, but reminding us at the same time, that life is already full and nothing is really missing. The captivating “Patagonia” is a feel-good, free-spirit kind of song, again, with truly masterful flute playing. Along with the guitar, acoustic bass, and percussive elements, our spirits feel completely free to explore the vast landscapes of life, no matter where we find ourselves physically.
“New Orleans,” another personal favorite on World Café, is a funky, bluesy, jazzy number incorporating a derivative habanera rhythm called tresillo. The habanera rhythm is a foundational Latin music groove; a fundamental element of the Argentine tango. The tresillo, a derivative, is often an essential rhythm found in New Orleans jazz. Here is a perfect example of Ron attaining his goal on this outstanding album of a “world café” that successfully intermingles a “rhythm from one region with a melody inspired by another.” In this particular “World Café,” the ambiance is such that we can mix, mingle, and thoroughly enjoy. Let’s all go there and have fun.
"World Café" by Ron Korb is an uplifting masterpiece of multicultural musical immersion; first class, the whole way through.
Get "World Café" here: https://www.RonKorb.com