Created by a trio of expert musicians, Zoji essays a complex blend of genres, spanning centuries, and as such is difficult to describe. Most of the album was composed by Mark Wingfield, who has played with a number of established jazz musicians, such as Iain Bellamy and Gary Husband. He was joined by harpsichordist Jane Chapman, a professor at the Royal College of Music, who has performed and recorded hundreds of works, from 17th and 18th century music to contemporary experimental.
As the pair began working on Wingfield’s compositions and creating Zoji, they decided to add percussion, and were finally joined by Adriano Adewale, who has composed and arranged music for numerous art projects, including commissioned work for the EFG London Jazz Festival and the Bath Music Festival, and is also an accomplished teacher, currently at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.
Beginning with City Story, the juxtaposition of electric guitar and harpsichord combines two distinct atmospheres, held together by Adewale’s percussion, with the musicians unified as the ambient sounds begin to surge beneath the harpsichord. The third track, Persian Snow Leopard, exemplifies this, as Adewale’s low, almost indistinct vocals underpin Wingfield and Chapman’s playing as they weave melodic lines together.
While some of the tracks utilise the musicians’ improvisational skills, some follow a more clearly composed format. Land On Sky takes a long, complex melody in a wide, echoing space and builds as the harpsichord ebbs and flows in intensity and the percussion moves in the distance. All of the tracks were composed by Wingfield except two, Pasquali Dream and Prélude Sinueux, which are by Wingfield and Chapman and drawn from 18th-century pieces.
Highly original and performed with great skill, Zoji is an interesting and thought-provoking album, and succeeds greatly in bringing together musical worlds that rarely meet.
City Story; Seven Faces Of Silence; Persian Snow Leopard; Parallel Time; Land On Sky; Sun Court; Pasquali Dream; Wind Falls Cliffs Rise; Zoji Pass; Prélude Sinueux; Viaduct Road (63.27)
Mark Wingfield (g); Jane Chapman (hpscd); Adriano Adewale (pc, v). UK, no date.
MoonJune Records MJR110