Gordon Grdina: Think Like the Waves
Songlines SGL SA1559-2
"Think Like the Waves"
Gordon Grdina (guitar, oud)
Gary Peacock (bass)
Paul Motian (drums)
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Review by Mark Werlin - June 22, 2023
Vancouver-based guitarist, oud player, composer and bandleader Gordon Grdina was mentored by bassist Gary Peacock, the calm center of the Keith Jarrett “Standards” trio, over a period of five years. Working with a musician who had played alongside pianists Jarrett, Bill Evans, and Paul Bley, connected Grdina directly to the lineage of an earlier generation of musical modernists.
“Think Like the Waves”, released in 2006, was the culmination of his studies with Peacock. Joined in the studio by the great Paul Motian, Grdina and Peacock performed an entire set of Grdina’s original compositions, ten with electric guitar, four with oud. There’s a gradual movement from the chamber jazz of the first three guitar tunes towards the Middle-Eastern scales of the oud piece “Renunciation”. Grdina’s distinctive writing, and the effortless mastery of Peacock and Motian, marks this session as an early milestone in Grdina’s career.
The subtle interplay of West and East runs through subsequent years of his musical output. In November 2019, not long before live musical performances were suspended worldwide, I had the pleasure of hearing Grdina’s ensemble The Marrow play music from their Songlines release “Safar-e-Daroon”, an acoustic set of Middle-East inspired pieces. The musical spirit of Gary Peacock manifests in all of Grdina's recent projects: “Resist”, a compelling session featuring electric guitar and oud that covers wide territory from chamber compositions to free jazz, is available as a hi-res download on Grdina’s Bandcamp page.
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