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Berkana: Berkana

" Symbolized by the birch tree, Berkana represents new beginnings, personal growth and liberation"- from the ancient Norse Runes.

Berkana is a jazz-fusion trio hailing from New Jersey, featuring a very fast, fluid and flashy guitarist named Nat Janoff. His note-frenetic style will draw the inenvitable comparisons to Alan Holdsworth, John McLaughlin, and Scott McGill. However, the 8 tracks that comprise this disc aren't your typical fusion fare. This record is not wall-to-wall guitar pyrotechnics. Joining Mr Janoff are the very capable Ray LeVier on drums and the very talented Rave Tesar, who handles the piano and organ duties. His sensible playing takes the edge off some of Janoff's spicy solos and acts as a great counterweight. This contrasting sound tends to give this album a more traditional jazz feel. Although there are some very busy tracks, there are also a few ballads on this disc. The Tesar penned " Behind Closed Doors" features Mr Tesar on left-handed bass ( which he undoubtedly purchased at Ned Flanders' Leftorium). Another ballad is the silky smooth "Horizon" which has Mr Janoff slowing the pace down just a tad in order to inject more soul into his sound. This number also features a sublime piano solo from Mr Tesar.

What makes this record stand out from the sea of "yet another faster than light guitar extravaganza" is the contrasting styles of the musicians involved in the project. This tends to elevate the music above the over-indulgent fare often associated with this genre. Fans of pure flash may be left wanting more, but those who enjoy a more chops-heavy form of contemporary jazz may find this debut disc to their tastes.

Track Listing:

  1. Whack (5:55)
  2. Spiral (7:09)
  3. Behind Closed Doors (5:12)
  4. Looking Through (5:33)
  5. Samba Joe Mama (4:38)
  6. Horizon (6:36)
  7. Helium (5:01)
  8. Mercy,Mercy,Mercy (6:48)

Added: July 4th 2005
Reviewer: Yves Dubé
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Hits: 2797
Language: english

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