Kashmir Quartet is not a band in the usual modern sense. They gather about once a year for recording off the shoulder improv sessions in the time-tested style of jazz groups. This is a practice not normally associated with rock, and in this era of JAZZ-IS-A-DIRTY-WORD fickle audiences, not much of this music sees the light of day. The thinking is that YOU CAN'T HANDLE IT. You. The listener. The big record companies consider you to be stupid, unable to fathom music created in this manner. I disagree. One listen to Kashmir Quartet, and I think many of you will Get It. And How. Listen to these four guys play, not in the typical "jam" style, but jamming none-the-less. What you hear is musical ideas on the fly, pushing and stretching and prodding each other. It's a wild ride. Part rock, part folk, part jazz, part freeform spoken word.

Karl Grossman on guitar, trumpet and vocals. He runs the show without dictating the music. His guitar style is clean, explorative and melodic. The other guitarist is Mike Hoffman, the perfect second-axe man, whose style is more textured, with metal and fusion styles that add a manic intensity to the music. Peter Carreiro is the bassist who brings his love of outside cultures to the mix. He plays santoor on one cut. The drummer is renouned jazz artist Jerry Gibbs. He can and does play in all the popular jazz, fusion and rock styles with apparent ease. His chameleon talents are the perfect match for the quick turns the music takes. These four guys (in their forties) together go places that their individual skills wouldn't dream of. That's the magic of improvising music while the tape rolls. And if you don't laugh at least once, check your pulse.

The music these guys produce does not fit snuggly into the accepted genres. This may upset some fans. If you buy the disc as a jazz record, you may be shocked or repelled by the amount of heavy metal sounds. If you bought it for rock reasons, you will hear things that remind you of jazz or experimental music. Do not be afraid. Dance with the band into new territory. If the musicians are unafraid to jump from one style to another, go with them. Don't resist. This is no ethnograhy, no egghead voyage into cultural understanding. It's a party, and all music is invited.

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kashmir quartet