Online since August 2002

Starring the tuba

Reviewed December 2007

By Tom Heasley & Toss Panos

Full Bleed Music: 2007

To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its CDBaby.com entry.

The tuba is the big bad brass leviathan of the music world. Most folks might think of the seismic OOM-PAH and John Phillips Sousa with the mention the instrument. Very few people – even the devout music fans among us – would consider the tuba as a lead ensemble voice. But tubaist Tom Heasley puts his deep-toned horn front and center on "Passages."

The music is created by an ensemble of two – Heasley and drummer Toss Panos, with Heasley adding various electronic voices and loops, live. The result is an ambient wash of sounds, heavy on the bottom end, with swirling electronica swooping in and out of the mix on a firm but subtle percussive scaffolding supplied by drummer Panos.

The CD opens with the sprawling twenty-four minute "Different Worlds," a pleasingly lugubrious, fluid soundscape that could serve as a soundtrack for a migration of whales, full of low-end squeals and grunts and a ponderous and implacable liquid momentum.

The set features five tunes, all of them full of abstract majesty and marrow-shaking grandeur. You won't come away from the music whistling any catchy melodies, but it is a listening experience that can set off vibrations in your rib cage and – if one is willing to suspend expectations – soothe your tired soul.

Review by Dan McClenaghan. Dan is a writer living in Oceanside, Calif. Read his biography on his AllAboutJazz.com page.

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