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World Music CD Reviews Jazz

E L B

By Robert Kaye
Published August 21, 2008

Dream Flight
ACT Music+Vision

American drum icon Peter Erskine, world fusion guitarist Nguyên Lê and French upright bassist Michel Benita make up the international jazz supergroup E_L_B, and with guest saxophonist Stéphane Guillaume joining the merrymaking for several tracks, you can bet there’ll be some fireworks. Unlike many so-called contemporary jazz albums, which frequently rework the standards (some more creatively than others), Dream Flight’s 10 tracks are all originals. The album opens with the whimsical title track, composed by Benita, who allows ample room for his cohorts to make their own brush marks on the song’s languid chord changes. Further on, Erskine reprises “Song For Jaco”—his tribute, written in 2000, to Jaco Pastorius, who helped recruit Erskine to the classic Weather Report lineup way back in 1978. Meanwhile, Lê spices up the album with his signature fusionistic forays into different world genres, including the polymetric and funky “Jive Five” and the fleet-fingered “Kokopanitsa.” With such remarkable collective talent in a compact ensemble, it’s easy to wonder why E_L_B doesn’t appear more often on the U.S. jazz scene it would be a dream come true.