Violinist Randal Harrison and his trio pursue lots to different musical paths on their debut album, but Harrison's rhythm section (percussionist Geoffrey Brady and bass player Mark Unress) really lead the swinging fiddler into new space with the driving "Nioka."
A grinding, lowdown bass part undergirds the tune from their self-titled debut album, and Brady's sly drum part seems to drag the beat, giving it a very Sixties-style modern jazz feel. Harrison never fails to swing and he even teases with some studied dissonance, but it's Unress who steals the show with a brief bowed solo that's the essence of understated cool.
No doubt, the bold Afro-Cuban- and tango-derived originals on the album will draw in more casual listeners, but to these ears, they don't match the special verve of "Nioka."
A MP3 of the track is available in the related downloads at right. More information about Randal Harrison's musical endeavors can be found at stringfling.com. The trio consisting of Harrison, Brady, and Unress will be playing at the CD release party for their new album at the Brink Lounge on the afternoon of Sunday, May 6.
MadTracks highlights and provides MP3s of songs performed by local musicians. All tracks here are provided with permission of the artist. If you are a musician based in the Madison metro area and are interested in sharing your work as a MadTrack, please send a message.