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Sirkis, Asaf: Solar Flash

Solar Flash from the much in demand drummer Asaf Sirkis could easily have been called Embarrassment Of Riches, such is the talent on show. I mean, when any set of recordings can call on the bass work of Kevin Glasgow, keyboard expertise of Gary Husband and then announce the likes of guitarist Mark Wingfield and singer Sylwia Bialas as guests, then surely it must have something going for it? Then of course you can sprinkle on top the incredible drum contributions from the main man himself, who composed everything this album contains and surely we must be on to a winner?

Well, as if there was ever going to be any doubt, Solar Flash being a complete delight from start to finish as immensely involving musical passages are woven into a jazz fusion setting and then allowed to bring their own, more enigmatic air. Really, you could begin anywhere to highlight the clever stylistic choices taken on this album but “Under The Ice” possibly best demonstrates the roaming ideals that are infused by a clever helping of patience as they unfold at a steady, but perfectly presented pace. You might expect Sirkis to dominate, but in reality his fabulous drumming often resides in a place where everything else is, quite rightly, allowed to grow. Don’t get me wrong, some of the flurries and fills are immaculate in their intricacy, but these are popping explosions of colour to enhance what Glasgow, Husband, and on the ever evolving “Aquila”, Wingfield provide.

The pieces with Bialas offering a vocal counterpoint find that aspect deeply surrounded by the musical mood, leaving it to “For Eric” - a track dedicated to drummer Eric Kamau Gravatt - to finally pull in the sounds to allow spoken word to take centre stage. Those words are provided by Sun Ra, and I must admit that with the reasonably monotone style in which they are delivered, I found it difficult to stay the course. However, I’m pleased I did, the tension created in the bass/keys play-off that follows, engrossing in the extreme. However, even with all that in mind, it’s possibly the three part (although they don’t all appear consecutively) “Polish Suite” where it’s most easy to get lost in this album’s intentions. Piano rules during “Part One”, but then it’s guitar, keys and drums - the latter being incredible in their placement - that takes that role in “Part Two”. With the aforementioned “For Eric” and the album’s excellent, and pleasant drum heavy, title track then interjecting, “Part Three” maybe doesn’t feel as connected as it should, but by way of closing this album out, the plaintive, emotive style it brings makes a huge impression.

Often albums with such undoubted musicianship on show forget that even the best exponents of their crafts need sumptuous compositions to reveal their true talents. Solar Flash on the other hand took care of that aspect first and then let its creators add their own inimitable voices, and the results, therefore, speak for themselves.


Track Listing
1. Kinship
2. Under The Ice
3. Aquila
4. Polish Suite, Part One
5. Polish Suite, Part Two
6. For Eric
7. Solar Flash
8. Polish Suite, Part Three

Added: December 18th 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Asaf Sirkis on bandcamp
Hits: 179
Language: english

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