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|Global Spirit II
The jazz ensemble Global Spirit exemplifies the universal nature of music and is a testament to the ease of inter-cultural
dialogue through the medium of jazz improvisation. Common threads between every culture on the planet make it possible
to develop a musical language which is universally accessible while remaining an honest personal expression.
The group is led by British saxophonist/composer Greg Lyons who’s own background in Europe and America has
produced a style inspired by the 1970’s jazz-rock scene, blended with contemporary bebop and then heavily influenced by
Brazilian and Cuban music. More recently, his experiences in Asia have infused his music with new flavour and created a
wholly personal take on world music with a hard-edged improvisational angle.
With the inclusion of guitarist Eugene Pao from Hong Kong we have one of the most original and articulate jazz
improvisers in Asia. Eugene is already a highly respected jazz artist internationally with a collection of CDs recorded with
such luminaries as Michael Brecker, Peter Erskine, Mark Johnston and Bob Berg.
Singer Angelita Li is perhaps the only singer in Asia with as much interest in the traditions and disciplines of her own
region as she has for her adopted jazz heritage. Her style belies a wide cultural horizon as her influences run from
Brazilian music and acid-jazz to s classical Indian styles. She also has the discipline to approach material that most
singers would not attempt, and can truly be regarded as an instrumentalist in any ensemble.
Malaysian master-percussionist Lewis Pragasam is one of the most highly regarded drummers in the world. Trained in
the discipline of the Indian classical tradition as well as the tradition of modern jazz, he adds an incredible array of colours to
the band's pallette, and uses an awesome vocabulary of polyrhythmic dexterity that acts as a dazzling foundation to the
British trumpeter Damon Brown has spent most of his life making a name for himself in the European jazz circuit. His
playing reflects a debt to the great bebop trumpet players, but his bag of tricks belies a knowledge of diverse stylings
including reggae. He plays with arresting melodic directness and has a very clearly communicative flow of ideas. His
compositions reflect a mix of hard-bop and modal.
The pulse of the band is with Californian bassist Christy Smith, representing the continents of both America and Africa. His
incredible diversity as a musician is utilised here within the broad stylistic compass of this ensemble. His solid
underpinnings are the perfect foil for the fervent polyrhythms of Pragasam and the two provide an intense and inspiring
platform for the others.