Picks and Pans Review: Echoes
updated 04/14/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 04/14/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST
These two electronic jazz albums show how similar instrumentation and influences can result in distinctly different musical statements. Zawinul, the Austrian-born keyboardist, uses his solo album to explore the style that distinguishes his longtime group, Weather Report. Dialects (Columbia) favors turbulent rhythms over which Zawinul layers abrupt clusters of notes. He employs African, Arab and Caribbean idioms in his compositions, which are at times incongruent, but still moving. Wally Badarou's music, by comparison, is harmonious and sweet. Raised in West Africa, he moved to France as a child, and has lent his keyboard prowess to LPs by Grace Jones, Black Uhuru and Joe Cocker. On Echoes (Island), he produces lilting, rapturous and highly danceable music. Badarou also incorporates sounds such as a ticking clock and a playground full of children. With back-to-back killer tracks, Badarou proves he has impelling instincts for rhythm (Mambo) and melody (Voices). If you like your music with a piquant international flavor, either record is appropriate.