CD REVIEW: Edo Castro - Sacred Graffiti
By: Cyrus Rhodes
"Peaceful Jazz Tranquility"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST-
Artist: Edo Castro
CD: Sacred Graffiti
Label: Passion Star Records
Genre: Classic jazz, Fusion
Sounds Like: Weather Report, Peter Erskine, Billy Cobham, Mahavishnu Orchestra
Technical Grade: 10/10
San Francisco bassist Edo Castro initially was a self-taught bassist but later moved to Chicago and attended The American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. He completed his studies and earned a BA in 1987 with a focus on Jazz Studies and electric Bass. He continued to hone his craft in Chicago through 1990. Returning to the Bay Area, Edo released his first solo effort of original music entitled simply “Edo.” Edo’s 2nd release “Phoenix” (on Passion Star Records) made the 49th Grammy Entry List for "Best Contemporary Jazz Album" in October 2006 as did his third and latest release, Sacred Graffiti, in 2010. His latest release Sacred Graffiti (2010) features special guests including: Percy Jones, Michael Manring, David Friesen, Al Caldwell, Grammy award winner Mark Isham, Steve Erquiaga, Chris "C3" Cardone, Ray Cooper, Dray Pryor, Savannah Jo Lack, Richard Gee, Erik Lindquist, Alex Aspinall, Dan Zinn, Jonathan Moe, Chris Stafford and Mark Bernfield. Edo is also planning a future Bass project involving Stew McKinsey and Yves Carbonne.
The CD gently takes to flight with intoxicating intro piece “A Thread of Blue” that flows and ebbs its way through to musical fruition. This first piece serves up impressive Keyboard exuberance against atypical Smooth Jazz ambience that gently leads you by the hand to Track 2 “The Gathering” a slamming follow up that serves up impressive saxophone melody against fluid bass line and infectious jazz groove. Track 3 “57th Latitude” keeps things moving in the dynamic direction with its impressive melodic bass lines, meshed against mesmerizing melody and hypnotic groove. The CD makes a great first impression providing 3 solid musical experiences in a row. Musical textures reminiscent of the typical Gold Standard Jazz, but there is an undeniable Fusion “full tilt” flair to it this catalog. As the CD slowly unfolds you will notice most of the songs are quite dynamic reminiscent of free form jazz (Weather Report, Peter Erskine, Billy Cobham, Mahavishnu Orchestra Each piece possesses crystal clear high end clarity, solid low end feel and chops that will make your head spin. The production delivers much in the way of Instrumentation as well as the bone crushing line up of players mentioned above you. Along the musical journey one will experience well-placed Percussive accents, impressive Keyboard and synthesizer, sizzling solo guitar, solid rhythm section groove and world class bass grooves and drum virtuoso. Now turning our attention over to Castro. As far as his playing ability let me just go on record to say he brilliantly fuses all of the aforementioned via his 7 string bass. This is allot harder than it sounds, Castro pulls it off flawlessly. If that’s not a compliment I don’t know what is. He clearly knows how to fill the sonic space with amazing playing that flows across the ears like fine wine, but at times aggressive and tenacious, other times fluid and flowing. The music itself goes down smooth and fills the atmosphere with what I would describe as peaceful Jazz Tranquility. All in all the CD has some truly impressive moments showcasing impressive playing, songwriting, rhythm, chops and a few dynamic grooves all rich in melody and flavor. From grooving “Sneaky Pete” and A Travel Lodge Moment” to hypnotic “When the Stars Fell on You” and “As the Cheery Blossoms Fall” melodic “Drifting Across the Night Sky” to dynamic “All In” and “No Change in Sight” to my personal favorite Bent Blues” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 16 “A Thread of Time” the perfect finale statement foe a CD of this caliber.
I' fully realize this is a subjective art form but I don't care how the drums sit within the mix on some of the tracks.
After spending some time with Edo Castro it's hard to find any solid weaknesses worth mentioning. Instead as the CD progressed I became more and more impressed with the production as a whole. What I like most about the CD is it refuses to try too hard. Sacred Graffiti is an impressive musical production from start to finish. There’s not really a weak song on this entire catalog period! The songs are infectious and catchy. Each one possessing a unique personality, flair and signature groove. Last but not least - the playing, writing and production abilities of Edo Castro are to die for. Just hit play, sit back and see where this amazing journey takes your mind, body and spirit.