Ligro is Adam Hamzah on guitar, Adi Darmawan on bass and Gusti Hendy on drums. Joining the trio on the first track—“Bliker 4”—is Ade Irawan on keyboards. Irawan was only 18 years old at the time of the recording. The Jazz of Irawan with the Progressive-Jazz-Fusion of Ligro makes “Bliker 4” sound like a union of Bill Evans and King Crimson. The rhythms are thunderous and the melodic lines are fascinating.
“Pentagonal Krisis” begins with a pianissimo introduction that puts one in mind of Jefferson Airplane’s “Comin’ Back to Me.” The percussion begins to take over with finger cymbals and triangles and more to assume a King Crimson “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic” feel and all of that is good by me.
The song develops into an exposition of polyrhythmic creativity. Darmawan and Hendy bounce rhythms off each other as Hamzah explores the vast reaches of wanton guitar.
The guitar and drums lock in together and the interaction is fierce. At one point, Darmawan is anchoring the tempo as Hamzah and Hendy venture into elastic time.
In the end, the piece concludes as it began—“Comin’ Back to Me.”
“Tragic Hero” opens with the bass on a four-note scale with the immediate effect of a sad, repetitive pattern. The guitar washes across the bass line in mysterious tones.
The development is slow and deliberate until Hamzah’s guitar explodes in Frippish intonations. The drums are aggressive as the bass continues its inexorable march. The guitar then circles the perimeter of the melody as Hendy’s drums become the caretaker of the melody all their own.
All three artists are exemplary here.
“The 20th Century Collaseu” is based on Oliver Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time” and Anton Webern’s “Opus 28.”
Messiaen wrote most of “Quartet for the End of Time” after being captured as a French soldier during the German invasion of France in 1940. The premier of the piece took place in the cold and unheated confines of Barracks 27 of Stalag VIII. The German officers of the camp sat with the prisoners-of-war and—freezing together—heard the first performance of the incredible composition.
Ligro has coupled that wondrous piece with Webern’s String Quartet, Opus 28. This is a lyrical piece of Webern’s that doesn’t always get the attention (or performance) that the piece demands (and deserves). Ligro, however, have rendered an effective and compelling arrangement of the coupled-quartet piece.
Listen to the originals—both found on YouTube—and then listen to what Ligro hath wrought. Stunning. This track alone was worth the price of admission. Did I mention stunning?
It is the most captivating track of the album. Hendy gets a bright spotlight with his machine-gun rhythms. Darmawan also carries off some exciting bass work while Hamzah is brilliantly aggressive on guitar.
“Lonely Planet” concludes the album. It is a bit of blues tucked into the song’s beginning, developing along even bluesier guitar lines until a massive progressive coda.
Ligro has taken another leap forward with “Dictionary 3” and being under the wing of Leonardo Pavkovic and MoonJune Records has provided them the arena and audience they deserve. Their writing skills are first-rate and their artistry is superb. Ligro grabs your attention and never surrenders it.
~Travis Rogers, Jr. is The Jazz Owl
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