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CD REVIEW: Jorge Sylvester - In the Ear of the Beholder
By Ben Ohmart - 12/31/2001 - 02:53 PM EST

Artist: Jorge Sylvester
Album: In the Ear of the Beholder
CD Review: Sounds like more, but really the only components to Beholder are

Jorge Sylvester - sax, hand claps, voice, cuica voice effect, maracas, cow bell
Donald Nicks - bass, fretless bass
Bobby Sanabria - drums, bells

What’s even more surprising is that this is live studio music. That is, there’s no overdubbing or additives after the fact. How Jorge can part his lips from the reed then grab a cow bell is beyond me, and yet the 8 instrumental jazz tunes go off without a hitch or honk.

Some brilliant playing goes into the opening ‘Tambor - the Mix’ track, which begins with a simple sax blow, and thereby quickly unleashes all the power of this ‘afro-caribbean experimental trio.’

The cd is 76 minutes long, and I mean Long. The cuts last from 5 to 17 minutes, allowing the mind to fully fall into the meaning of the wordless poetry and the sultriness of certain steamy scenes.

Perhaps the most exotic, and romantic, comes from the gentle blow of ‘Corazon Rebelde,’ which is one of the most melodic pieces of the disc, and one of 2 covers not written by Jorge. It’s easy to tell what he’s written though. When ‘Por La Clave’ clangs into being, the word if Jazz all the way. Jazz within a vast, but structured improv setting, but is somehow gentle. Perhaps the breaks from the sax, in which the bass reciprocates what the sax theme has just given, is what crosses genres between classic and contemporary-experimental jazz. Best of both trio worlds.

Jorge’s previous release, Musicollage, won raves from critics. That was 5 years ago. Obviously the man has been exercising his talent with live music while working out just how he wanted the next album to sound. He’s also worked with The Oliver Lake Big Band, David Murray Big Band, Sekou Sundiata, The Black Rock Coalition Orchestra, and enough others to fill a couple more pages. Keeping busy, learning, getting closer to perfection are the time-consuming jobs of his life. Give a listen to the Ear and see just why he’s so in demand.

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