Only one year has passed since Dewa Budjana's release of his Hasta Karma album (2015, see review). Due to a lot of inspiration and creativity Dewa's newest effort; Zentuary has turned out to become a full double album, guesting some of the finest musicians in the genre. The core of the album is formed by Dewa Budjana on guitars, bass player Tony Levin, drummer, pianist and keyboard player Gary Husband and drummer Jack DeJohnette. The majority of the tracks holds these famous jazz musicians, but some of the songs have additional special appearances from other pretty impressive names. The 2016 album also sees a collaboration between Moonjune Records and Steve Vai's Favored Nations and will be released under the FN moniker.
Over the years Dewa's style has evolved to a kind of progressive world jazz and fusion with a focus on his fine guitar playing. Songs, like the openers Dancing Tears and Pancaroba, but also Dear Yulman and Dedariku are perfect representatives of jazz rock /fusion and Dewa's Balinese roots. Solas PM is a more traditional jazz rock song, where Gary Husband excels on piano and guest musician/ band label mate Danny Markovich of Marbin takes the lead on his saxophone. The acoustically driven Lake Takengon stars with the traditional part, including vocal parts of Ubiet, but halfway in the song shifts to a wonderful electric section, where Dewa's guitar skills are just amazing. My personal highlight comes when during Suniakala guest guitar player Guthrie Govan takes the lead in a brilliant solo part, combined with the contribution of The Czech Symphony Orchestra, this track is absolutely majestic.
Zentuary turn out to be a really wonderful jazz rock album, where the combination of traditional parts perfectly blend with the powerful fusion elements. All but one; the title track Zentuary, which is a short acoustic soundscape, fairly long composition. Those long tracks don't hold meaningless soloing, but to the point parts, that fit to the track. Whether it is a sax part, piano or traditional flute sections, all elements are used to create the perfect song. But still, Dewa's brilliant guitar playing is the lead on this double album and he surprises me every time again with nice tunes and great playing.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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