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Matt Darriau & Paradox Trio, Source (CD, 61:00); KFR-237, 1999
Knitting Factory Records
74 Leonard Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: 212-219-3006
Cyberhome: www.knittingfactory.com

        The Paradox Trio, founded and led by woodwinds player Matt Darriau, 
is one of the truly outstanding groups active within New York's 
downtown avant-garde scene. Actually a quartet, the band consists of 
Darriau on saxes and clarinets, Brad Shepik on guitars, Rufus 
Cappadocia on five-string electric cello, and Seido Salifoski on 
dumbek and other hand percussion. Under Darriau's visionary 
leadership, these musicians blend influences from the Balkans, 
Eastern Europe, Turkey, Greece, and beyond, infuse them with the 
improvisational aesthetics of jazz, and create an integrated sound 
that is entirely their own. Source is their third release, 
following 1995's eponymous debut and 1997's Flying at a Slant. 
All are excellent. This time around, says an inscription on the CD 
backing, the band sets out to explore "the common ground shared by 
Balkan and Klezmer musical traditions."
	Relatively few of the tunes are wholly original. Darriau 
wrote the opener, "Turkic," as well as "Ghost Dance." Shepik wrote 
the "Honga" portion of "Hora/Honga." The other tracks are either 
Darriau's or the group's arrangements of arcane source material, some 
of it dating back to recordings made early in this century, some of 
it dating back much farther. The detailed liner notes prove helpful 
in sorting it all out. Thus we learn the names of the various forms 
that typify this music: the terkisher, the kalamatiano, the hora, the 
ciftetelli, the hassapiko, the doina. Some of it is in waltz time, 
some in a driving, danceable four. "Wounds" is a slow, mournful 7/8.
	"Ozi Vezimrat Ya" is Shepik's arrangement of a beautiful 
Yemenite song; Shepik plays saz, a Turkish stringed instrument, while 
Darriau plays the kaval, an "end-blown Bulgarian shepherd's flute." 
The combined sound of these two instruments is remarkable, and 
Salifoski's finesse on the dumbek is amply demonstrated. On "Ghost 
Dance" Shepik plays Bulgarian tambura, a fretless instrument with a 
vaguely sitar-like sound. "Üsküdar," a Turkish standard from the 20s, 
features Shepik on electric saz and Lorin Sklamberg of The Klezmatics 
singing beautifully in the Turkish language. The inclusion of vocals 
is a first for the group. Other vocal features are "Alts Far Gelt," a 
lively klezmer with Sklamberg singing in Yiddish, and "Bocet Doina," 
a hypnotic rubato theme sung by Romanian vocalist Margareta Paslaru.
	Instrumental tracks such as "Turkic," "Wounds," "Hora/Honga," 
and "Oriental Suite" bear more resemblance to the chops-intensive 
sound of Paradox's first two records. Angular, fast, exotic melodies 
are played in unison by horn and guitar. Shepik's frequent use of 
fuzztone is a good example of how the group brings West and East 
provocatively into contact. Cappadocia primarily plays his cello 
pizzicato, with a sound not unlike an upright bass in the Eddie Gomez 
mode. Salifoski's playing ranges from the tasteful, lightly stepping 
"Üsküdar" to the all-out groove of "Oriental Suite."
	Many jazz and fusion musicians have attempted to work with 
non-Western musical elements, but very few have achieved this kind of 
authentic synthesis. The Paradox Trio's overtures to the East are 
based not on faddish religiosity or empty multicultural posturing, 
but on thorough knowledge and mastery of the forms with which they've 
chosen to work. The result is entirely unpretentious, and entirely 
~David R. Adler

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