Mark White,
(MMC Records, 1997)

The first thing you notice about the album Tunch is the seamless pacing of the music. Each song is paced quite well, moving from melody to melody in a delightful fashion. This is not a rock album, nor is it a passive album to listen to with only half your attention. The music is reminiscent of late nights at a jazz club in New Orleans, where different sounds are incorporated with acoustic instruments and synthesizers -- a blending of jazz with various styles of world music. In this case, the main instrument found in all these songs is the guitar, backed up with various instruments including the piccolo, flutes, bass, piano, and various percussion.

Mark White plays the guitars (acoustic, electric, and synthesizer) on Tunch, comprising a quintet with musicians John Lockwood on bass, John Arcaro on piano, Jamie Haddad on drums and Lez Thimmig on soprano and tenor sax, piccolot, and c-, alto and bass flutes. Additional music is provided by several guests on the album: Victor Mendoze on the vibes and percussion, Barry Smith on the bass, and Scott DeOgburn on piano.

Many of the songs have a Latin dance feel to their style. "For Ellis (Regina)" (a play on the classical piece "Fur Elise") has a samba movement to it, as several wind instruments play in tandem along with the ever-present guitar. "Villa de Porto" starts with a rainfall and and a series of phrases that makes the listener what's next. It then segues into a melodic tune evoking images of Latin dancing and heated nights.

The seventh track, "Careful," has a touch of Middle Eastern music to it, along with the modern innovations of the synth. The percussion is intertwined with the music, giving this particular tune a rich sound that could be well-served in any Middle East belly dancing troupe. And the title song, "Tunch," will put a tap in your toes as you listen to a guitar and piccolo duet.

[ by Jade Falcon ]

Buy Tunch at CDNow.