Friday, October 9, 2009

David Sylvian: Jazz Futurist

David Sylvian (vocals, multi-instrumentalists)

For many, the name David Sylvian will be unfamiliar. David Sylvian started in the ''new romantic" (early eighties term for alternative) band Japan, which in itself was a rip off of the rock band Roxy Music. The band evolved into one the most influential and experimental bands of the mid-eighties. They incorporated various Eastern aesthetics into their music which allowed each member (David Sylvian (keyboard, piano, vocal), Mick Karn (bass, sax), Steve Jansen (drums), Richard Barbieri (keyboards)) to branch outward in their own directions. David took the path over the course of 9 albums towards more innovative jazz experiments.

His recent albums (Dead Bees On A Cake, Blemish and Snow Bourne Sorrow) have all combined his spiritual values with his appreciation for avant garde jazz. In recent years, Sylvian has also worked with avant garde guitarists Derek Bailey and Robert Fripp and trumpeter Jon Hassell and it definitely shows on the aforementioned albums.

The new release, Manafon (Samadisound) feels like the culmination of the previous two albums with its ethereal electronics and melodic accompaniment work from avant garde jazz musicians Evan Parker (sax) and Otomo Yoshihide (guitar) as well as excellent piano work from John Tilbury.

If you are a fan of ECM label, whose artists include Keith Jarrett, Evan Parker, Steve Tibbetts and David Torn among others, David Sylvian is someone you might want to check out. If Manafon doesn't whet your appetite you might want to check out the earlier compilation Everything And Nothing (Virgin Records) which will provide nice insight into his vocal and instrumental material over the last 30 years. Happy listening.

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