Review first appeared in Examiner on June 20, 2016.
Forget Chick Corea’s Return to Forever. Dwiki Dharmawan revives that group-think with his Nov. 17, 2015 album, So Far So Close.
The Indonesian keyboardist works his magic on eight unforgettable originals that touch on the best of that jazz-fusion band, as well as many others from the past, including a little Rush in Chad Wackerman’s (Frank Zappa, Allan Holdsworth) excellent drumming.
Dharmawan, a 30-year veteran in the field, plays the Fender Rhodes, electric piano, Hammond organ, a mini-moog, Hohner clavinet, acoustic piano, and Korg synth, and even sings on two tracks.
Everyone’s favorite session player, bassist Jimmy Haslip lends considerable street cred to the occasion. Dewa Budjana goes in on his electric guitar on five tracks, while Tohpati kills it on his through the title track and “The Dark Of The Light.” Both are fellow Indonesians and MoonJune Recording artists that do a lot to elevate this record.
Dharmawan really elevates his record on the show-stopping “Whale Dance,” putting his whole heart into the hair-raising melody, deepening emotions, enriching the landscape for Tohpati on acoustic guitar and Haslip on a very acoustic-sounding bass.
The multi-instrumentalist is also a peace activist who puts his money where his music is.
He may be new to America, but he’s been enthralling crowds overseas for over 30 years and in over 60 countries.
If you missed Dharmawan’s debut MoonJune recording last year, check it out now.