There are a bunch of bands in CT whose new albums I am highly anticipating this year. One of them is about to be unleashed to the general public in the form of Little Elephant by Hartford's own String Theorie.
I'm not going to lie to you guys. "World" music is not my forte. I can not sit here and wax poetic about who the greatest klezmer or calypso or salsa players are in the world today. I can tell you that I detest the term "world music" because I feel that it's the lazy American way of lumping hundreds of styles from across the globe into one catch-all section at your local big box music stores. But when Hartford's String Theorie described themselves to me as "world fusion" not only did it makes sense to me in the literal sense of the term but it also made sense to my ears.
What String Theorie has done on this album is to pull from almost every corner of the globe for inspiration and cull it together into a cohesive and enjoyable listening experience. African, Brazilian, Eastern European, and Latin American sounds (among others) all come together along with traditional jazz and blues influences to form a really unique vibe. The band spends the entire disc weaving a tapestry of the danceable and the meditative, sometimes within a single song, with absolute ease. Their musicianship clearly allows them to go places that most acts will never dare tread. This album really is a testimony to a group of musicians who had a vision of how their band should sound, worked at mastering their craft, and pulled the trigger to produce an album they can and should be proud of. Again, I can't with any real honesty tell you how this stacks up to other musicians from around the world who play similar styles, but I'm willing to bet these guys will give anyone a run for their money.