Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Chris Washburne and the Syotos Band: Land of Nod

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

This is protest music of a different sort. Without uttering a word, Chris Washburne issues a stinging indictment of U.S. foreign policy and tells Americans to wake up. From the title (Land of Nod suggests that voters were asleep for two presidential elections) to the cover art (a distorted-some might say defaced-representation of the American flag), the trombonist expresses disgust with the man in the White House and those who have supported him.

Now let’s set aside the politics for a moment: This is damn fine music. The third album from Washburne’s SYOTOS Band cooks up another infectious stew of modern Latin jazz. And while this is a heck of a cohesive unit, the individuality of the musicians comes through clear-particularly the agitated tenor sax of Ole Mathisen and the rousing piano of Barry Olsen. The first three tunes, all Washburne’s, might well compose a suite whose theme is not hard to discern: “Pink,” “Off-White” and “Blue Gust.” Washburne’s fabulous ‘bone playing is enhanced by Olsen’s dissonant chords and countered by John Walsh’s blaring trumpet, which calls to mind Arturo Sandoval. Is it reading too much into the suite to suggest that the way it fades out at the end is a metaphor for Washburne’s view that his flag’s glory is fading? Nah.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.