Kandinsky Effect

(Copyright © 2012 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
The Kandinsky Effect (2010), 6/10
Synesthesia (2013), 5/10
Somnambulist (2015), 5/10
Pax 6 (2016), 6.5/10

The Kandinsky Effect, formed Paris by US saxophonist and keyboardist Warren Walker and bassist Gael Petrina, is a trio of jazztronica that debuted with The Kandinsky Effect (SNP, 2010).

Synesthesia (Cuneiform, 2013) is a technically impeccable collection of friendly jazz-rock. Johnny Utah is unusual in shifting mood from languid soul litany to buzzing free-jazz frenzy, and the somnolent trance-y ballad Cusba is unusual in being so laconic, but Walker's tuneful arias such as Walking mostly work as laid-back lounge music, with the slightly more nocturnal and bebop-ish Brighton providing for the edgy variation. These "songs" certainly benefit from a highly imaginative rhythm section (that steals the show in If Only).

Somnambulist (Cuneiform, 2015), more dominated than ever by Warren Walker's tenor sax, offered a slightly more chaotic and abrasive form of jazz-rock in pieces like Flips, while closer Muji even displays psychedelic colors and hip-hop beats. A transitional work, it doesn't dare enough while trying to distance itself from its more traditional predecessor.

Pax 6 (Ropeadope, april 2016) pared Warren Walker (sax and electronics) with the rhythm section of Gael Petrina (bass) and Caleb Dolister (drums). The album, their most original yet, is played in calmer, more mature tone. The booming percussion of Music Box simply overstate the case of the drumming, which is creative, eloquent and torrential throughout the album, but the key is that it coexists elegantly with the histrionic saxophone. The next four pieces are more representative of the new course of action: the spaced-out atmosphere of Glass Bottle, the exotic and romantic Defective Bleeding, the danceable serenade This One Is For You and the metaphysical yearning of Pax 6 are each original and intriguing in a different way. The drumming reclaims its glory with thundering emphasis in Re: Jungle. Too bad that the last "songs" are more traditional, sounding like leftovers from Synesthesia.

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(Copyright © 2012 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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