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Moraz Alban Project: MAP

Ex-Yes man unveils his world fusion instrumental duo.

Patrick Moraz may still be best known for his stints with Yes and the Moody Blues, but you’ll find few clues as to this material in the work of either of those two bands.

Teaming up on this album with drummer Greg Alban, along with some guest musicians here and there, the signposts to this jazz fusion/world music hybrid lie back in Moraz’s late‑70s albums Story Of I and Out In The Sun. Continuing the Latin and African percussion that he dabbled in on those works, this all-instrumental project occasionally reminds the listener of a keyboard-driven, guitarless Santana. The more upbeat pieces are probably the more successful here, with opener Jungle Aliens sounding exactly as the title would suggest. Jazz In The Night evokes a lost ELP instrumental passage from the early 70s, but there’s also pause for breath in the laid-back The Real Feel and ambient album closer Alien Species. It isn’t a perfect album – Strictly Organic comes across a little like the theme music from an 80s TV detective show – but Moraz and Alban’s playing is a delight throughout, and there’s more than enough here to entice jazz and world music aficionados.