Oleg Kireyev: Mandala




Oleg Kireyev and the Feng Shui Jazz Project


Mandala (Jazzheads JH 1162)

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Oleg Kireyev (sax, keyboards, vocals),

Yana Toulkova (vocals), Valery Panfilov (guitar), Victor Matoukhin (bass), Lidar Nafigov (drums), Ndiago Sambe (congas)


Composed by Oleg Kireyev


Recorded: Moscow, Russia, 2004


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

Wow! These Russians, and one African, really cook! According to the liner notes, I am hearing jazz music infused with Moldavian and Asian melodies and African rhythms. Is that what this wonderful stuff is? If so, I am hooked.

"Mandala" starts off with a filthy fusion guitar and bass drum explosion. A heavy funk beat settles in. Then out of nowhere we are in Moldavia dancing in circles. We are stopped in our tracks by an African chant that seems totally out of place – except that it is in a great place. This is some weird shit. A mesmerizing rhythm takes over. What's this? Indian syllables? Yes. The tune finishes with a riff flourish from all corners of the world. So much going on and so little time…

In 1964, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Potter Stewart wrote that pornography was hard to define, but "I know it when I see it." I feel the same way about this music. I can't quite define what I heard. But I know that I liked it.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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