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CD Review: LUMIÈRE
July 13, 2007
Bob Brozman Orchestra - Lumière
AS A BUZZWORD, "fusion" is finished, and about time too. We're sick of failed recipes, of record producers pairing disparate stars like chalk and cheese, plonking them in the studio and expecting them to mate. But fusion does have an acceptable face, and it comes in the rabbinical form of the guitarist Bob Brozman. For what this artistic explorer has done with musicians on the islands of Reunion and Okinawa - and with the Indian guitarist Debashish Bhattacharya - represents a uniquely seductive magic.
Bob Brozman - King of the National Guitar
Brozman's weapon is a gleaming steel monster named the National Resonator guitar, which was created in the 1920s to project Hawaiian music and acoustic jazz in big spaces, and was killed by electric guitars in the 1940s, after which it was forgotten until Brozman came along in the 1970s and put it back on the map as a staple for the blues. It's not just that it's amazingly loud, it's the vast palette of colour he extracts from it - from delicate plinks to plaintive whines to full-throated roars to percussion effects.
On this extraordinary new CD, he turns himself and his guitar into an orchestra - the cover shows his grinning face replicated in a triumphal group photo - for a symbolic continuation of his lifelong journey of musical exploration. He describes it as a collection of musical postcards; for me, it reflects not so much a series of places, as one glorious riot of musical colour, shot through with tinctures of Hawaii, Portugal, Reunion, Okinawa, Bolivia, and Greece.
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