Husnu Senlendirici and Laco Tayfa
Traditional Crossroads (

cd cover Rom (gypsy) music would appear to be ideally suited for fusion with jazz, given the emphasis on instrumental chops and improvisational proficiency. This album provides evidence that there are other factors to consider. My conclusion is that this melding of styles works best when one sticks to modal improvisation. Jazz based on chord progressions, especially when the harmony is laid out explicitly on, say, keyboard, rather than sketched out implicity by a bass line, yields a jarring, incongruous tonality when juxtaposed with traditional Rom modal riffs. The cuts on this disk that avoid background synthesizer chords work better. Although the clarinet takes lead throughout, some of the best moments come when the kanun (trapezoidal zither) is given free rein. It's a worthwhile experiment that has yielded mixed results. - John Cho

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