Sonic Liberation Front Ashe A Go Go

Sonic Liberation Front Ashe A Go Go
Sonic Liberation Front are the latest chapter in the marriage of Afro-Cuban sounds and jazz. Kevin Diehl, the leader of the SLF, is aware of the free possibilities with bata drumming traditions of the Cuban countryside within a framework that recalls Albert Ayler. Rhythm here is a fabric, something to provide a texture and mood, rather than a timekeeping device. A major contributor is special guest Andy Gonzalez, the most forward-thinking Latin bassist of the last 30 years. As he did with Eddie Palmieri and Manny Oquendo, his ability to both keep time and stray outside of it connects the spacey "new thing" heads and solos to the rock solid Afro-Cuban rhythms. Still, these pieces are still in rather conventional "head-solo-head" formats. This would get a little stale were it not for the electronic processes that push at this structure, adding a further dimension that provides contrasting colours to the earthiness of horns and percussion. With so many ingredients, it's natural that some songs work better than others, such as the title track and the synth bass-driven "Iya," but nothing ever falls apart. As interesting as this disc is, the percussionists could stand to loosen up a bit more and get into a more collectively improvised spirit. Still, the recording is excellent, the electronics well deployed and it all comes together as a great example of one possible future for Latin rhythms and jazz. (High Two)