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OA2 Records Review - George Cotsirilos Quartet - Refuge

George Cotsirilos Quartet

Refuge

oa2 22201

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Dr. Debra Jan Bibel, Amazon

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Music can heal, music can bring solace. (Indeed, the Chinese seal ideograms for music and medicine are nearly identical.) Thus, in these stressful times of pandemic, climate-related environmental threats, socio-political challenges, and now war, we can find comfort in hearing and, in this instance for the George Cotsirilos Quartet, in making music. Refuge, performed by pianist Keith Saunders, bassist Robb Fisher, drummer Ron Marabuto, and the guitar of Cotsirilos commences with uptempo interplay of a piece that repeatedly builds in pitch and rapidly falls in Sisyphus fashion. The title work is a ballad that soon finds its harmonic groove taken in turn by each musician. Planet Roxoid may be related to an allergy mediciation; it has quick staccato flows with a sneezing phrase. The band goes Latin with Igualmente, and here as throughout the album the group works seamlessly as a unit, despite the difficulty of the tunes and changes. The melodies have elbows — the jagged, angular statements are expanded during development, as heard in The Three Doves and its following tracks. The writing surely is influenced by Cotsirilos's training in classical guitar at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and maybe some of his logical musical attacks echo his 'backup' career as an lawyer, even a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, Law School, while supporting Pharoah Sanders, Etta James, Eddie Marshall, and Mark Levine. The quartet flows mercurially. I do not like the fade ending of A Faint Light, though I much enjoyed Smoke Signal and vote for it as radio play. The album oddly reminds me of Erik Satie's 'Furniture Music', jazz style. Despite these caveats, the intricate structure and melodies of the various compositions are admirable, as is the tight playing of the musicians.








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