Don't let 'Serengeti Sunrise' by Chasm fool you. The slow, haunting flute that opens this excellent CD is about as New Age as Panorhythmica gets. After that, the CD lives up to it's title, blending rhythms from all over the world with jazzy guitar melodies to produce satisfying instrumentals. Like the 'panorama' suggests in the title, this music creates aural landscapes that ebb and flow with mood and speaker volume. Keep things low-key, and the music fades into the background, uplifting but never intrusive. Turn it up a bit, though, and you've got the perfect music for a sophisticated party. While the rich, full sound of this work suggests a much larger ensemble, there are only two primary musicians: Michael Whipple (flutes, recorders, and percussion) and Mark Esakoff (guitars). These two native Californians have taken their influences ~ jazz, classical, baroque, world music, and rock ~ and fused them into an inspired collection of tracks that are as evocative as they are danceable. Esakoff has an incredibly fluid, percussive guitar style that lends itself perfectly to these songs, especially 'Agua del Fuego,' which brims with Latin salsa inflections, and 'Road to Panorhythmica,' which could claim influence from The Beatles, as well as Tito Puente. Whipple's flute weaves subtly throughout, dancing coyly with guitar chords and bossa nova beats on tracks such as the buoyant 'Monkey in the Middle.' In less competent hands, the many influences and styles used here could have produced an unfocused jumble. However, Esakoff and Whipple have the skill and dexterity to keep the real star ~ the rhythm ~ in the foreground, with everything falling into place around it. Even after you've listened to this CD many times, it's musical depth keeps it fresh and engaging, as new melodies and beats continue to emerge and amaze. -Lisa M. Moore Spa Magazine / January 2002 BIOGRAPHY Comprised of flutist Michael Whipple and guitarist Mark Esakoff, the members of the Ventura, CA-based jazz duo Chasm (pronounced kaz'm) first met in 1987. As a youngster, Whipple's family moved around a lot (his father was a military man), and when his father forbade him to learn the drums, he picked up the flute and also taught himself how to play the recorder, keyboards, marimba, and despite his father's misgivings, eventually drums and percussion. Esakoff, on the other hand, picked up guitar at the age of 13, equally inspired by rock and folk, eventually traveling with his instrument throughout America, Europe, and North Africa, before hooking up with Whipple. Since then they have added band members and continue to evolve with their World Jazz music; blending contemporary jazz within a world music setting. Chasm's sound originally centered on instruments that resonate from one of three sources: "wood" (marimba, claves, etc.), "skin" (congas, gut/nylon strings, etc.), and "wind" (flute, recorder, etc.). Later, some metallic and electric sounds were added for sparkle. Chasm's sound concept is to connect primitive acoustic textures with modern musical structures. The result is instrumental music with a uniquely natural sound. A refreshing twist of jazz in a world music cocktail. The band has also enjoyed critical acclaim and international airplay. Chasm is: Michael Whipple on flute, keyboards & percussion; Mark Esakoff on classical guitar, marimba & ukulele; Brad Strickland on classical guitar & electric sitar; Arne Anselm on upright acoustic bass; and Aaron Winters on drums. Guest musicians also appear: Brad Ranola on drums, bongos & cajon; Bodhi Jones on bass & drums; and Mark Freddy on danmo, angklung & vocals. Michael Whipple was born in Oxnard, CA. Playing flutes, keyboards, congas & percussion; he comes from a musical background in prog-rock, jazz and later experimenting with numerous fringe genres. Being a "chameleon" of sorts he uses musical instruments as tools to realize color, line, shape and texture as he reacts visually to what he hears. Whipple also performs, composes and records jazz under his given name. Mark Esakoff was born in Montebello, CA. Playing guitar, marimba & ukulele; he comes from a musical background in rock and folk, later being inspired by jazz and flamenco while studying music at San Diego State University. As co-founder of Chasm, he considers himself a songwriter with a sound concept more than a guitarist. The acoustic nylon string guitar is just the prominent voice within the concept along with the marimba which he plays like a "log drum piano". Brad Strickland was born in Hempstead, New York. Playing guitar and electric sitar; he comes from a musical background rooted in rock and has since evolved into a very proficient jazz and classical guitarist. His most noteworthy contributions to Chasm's music are his endless array of "heady" guitar solos. And in the tradition of jazz, he rarely repeats himself. Strickland is also the founder of the jazz fusion band, The Art Farmers. Arne Anselm was born in Santa Barbara, California. Playing the upright acoustic bass; he comes from a musical background rooted in punk, but has now morphed into a world music bassist. He is able to create rich tones that provide the perfect "acoustic couch" for Chasm's sound with his 1930's Juzek double-bass from Czechoslovakia. Anselm also plays in the Gypsy jazz band, Swing Cheese. Aaron Winters was born in Los Angeles, California. Playing drums & percussion; he comes from a musical background in rock, jazz, funk and reggae, then later explored world music rhythms. With this he has developed his own style and plays a hi-bred drum set using the djembe instead of the traditional drums. He often plays a different rhythm to the same song from gig to gig. Winters helps reinvent Chasm's music by causing "happy accidents".
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