May 1997

Santi Debriano
Soldiers of Fortune
Evidence Music

Recorded in 1989, this project, led by Panamanian bassist Debriano, features the multi-dimensional talents of guitarist Dave Fiuczynski, keyboardist Kenny Werner, vibraphonist Joe Locke, reed man John Purcell, and drummer Ronnie Burrage. A reflection of its versatile cast of characters, the album's instrumental timbres, which Debriano creatively mixes throughout, make up a colorful sonic panorama.

Sometimes purely supportive (the title track), sometimes aggressively out front with its virtuosity andspectrum of techniques ("Dream Research"), Debriano's instrumental work assumes the right attitude at the right time. But with the group's collective improvisational abilities a given, it's the writing and arranging that constantly impresses.

"Plants," with its frantic guitar/vibes duet has a kind of "Rites Of Spring" ambiance that is reinforced by the piano/vibes work on "Dream Research" and the bass clarinet's opening solo statement on "Air." Overall, acute improvisation and orchestration that would please both Miles and Igor.

Originally published in May 1997
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