The fusion of jazz and world music may be far from a new phenomenon, but percussionist Ian Dogole's group Hemispheres makes it seem as exciting as ever.
For many years, Bay area percussionist Ian Dogole has been working diligently to perfect his own fusion of jazz with traditional folk music from around the globe. If his latest effort, with his talented group Hemispheres, is any indication, he's definitely on to something. Crossroads is an immensely enjoyable and unabashedly accessible collection of world beat-flavored bebop, chock full of playful lyricism, exciting rhythms, and inspiring compositions. "Golden Heart/Guiding Spirit" is among the album's many standout tracks. The song, a Dogole original, swings something fierce thanks to his able rhythm section mates, bassist Bill Douglass and pianist Frank Martin. But it is the lyrical interplay between reedists Sheldon Brown and Paul McCandless that makes the tune -- and the album -- so infectious. Dogole's understated playing on his self-described "global drum set" is just icing on this tasty cake. You can tell these musicians are enjoying themselves throughout, and if you have an ear for jazz and world music fusion, you assuredly will be, too.