Strive for Higher Realities
New Age guru Yanni often employs talented specialists for his live work, and no matter what you think of the maestro himself, there's no doubt that Venezuelan wind instrumentalist Pedro Eustache is a major find. His solo debut, Strive For Higher Realities (MMP/Periscope MP-50042; 56:00) is a mesmerizing, completely acoustic project incorporating African and Venezuelan percussion instruments, as well as Eustache's work on various flutes and bass clarinet. Set in a funky bass context, "Shchina (Ole Ole)" features a heady choral vocal call and answer (led by Huguette Contramaestre), set off by Eustache's pointed flute blasts. "Searching, Finding!!" weaves its central flute texture around a unique Afro-Uruguayan drum texture, while "Gynook" (divided into two parts) is classically wrought-with a haunting, heartbreaking trio arrangement that might be the effect of Satie composing jazz. "Hidden Treasure," with its dynamic piano and swinging flute lead, is another captivating highlight-not to mention an appropriate descriptive for this unique, uplifting effort.