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Bamboo Forest: Mysteries

Mysteries, the new release by percussionist Steve Reid’s Bamboo Forest (Telarc Jazz Zone CD-83415; 52:52) has all the external trappings of a thick sonic feast for the ears-loads of exotic percussions, pedigreed guest players and lofty concepts inspiring compositions with titles like “Ancient Profiles” and “Spirit Path.” However, once you get past the liner notes, this third solo effort by the former Supertramp and current Rippingtons member is mostly typical contemporary jazz marshmallow fluff. Reid’s pieces are the type of sassy, summery stuff that you might expect from the Rips-“Sunrise Celebration” is light and sweet, with an airy flute solo by Jeff Kashiway and “Mr. Mystery” is an R&B-flavored hopping tonic. Cornier pieces include “Soul Mates” and “Hideaway of Love,” and the promised heavy, deep-forest texture is limited to only a few selections, most notably “Spirit Path.” While Reid’s new age liner note stories are entertaining, they also serve to emphasize the “false advertising” aspect of his recording.

Originally Published