Fun Jungle Blues Music

Bruce Von Stiers

Mark Esakoff and Michael Whipple started out the World Fusion group Chasm as a duo a bit over ten years ago. They recorded a couple of albums as a duo with guest performers. Now they have a full complement of band members and a brand new album out. The first recording for Chasm in eight years, the title of the new album is Bamboo Blue. It was released on their indie label, Sticks & Stones Music.

As I mentioned above, Mark and Michael started out as a duo. They have added Brad Strickland, Arne Anselm and Aaron Winters to the group. Brad plays classical guitar and electric sitar on the album. Arne is on bass and Aaron plays drums, djembe and a cowbell. Mark plays classical guitar, marimba, ukulele, luitar, slide guitar and provides background vocals. Michael is on concert and alto flute, along with tenor recorder. He also plays keys, congas and does the percussion.

The album has some very special guest appearances. There is Bohdi Jones on bass for three of the tracks and drums on yet another. Mark Freddy plays the danmo, angklung and does the vocals on one track. And Brad Ranola does drums on one song, along with bongos and cajon on others.

The album has eleven songs and lasts over fifty-three minutes. Mark wrote most of the songs. One he wrote with Michael and another he wrote with Arne. Michael also wrote one song for the album. Mark produced the album.

Bamboo Blues is the first song. World Music styling with the flute underscores a moderately paced smooth jazz tune. Lots of great acoustic guitar is inter-mixed with terrific flute here.

Close To Earth is a piece with almost ‘60’s pop chords running through its veins.

Potamus Walk could almost make you think of a laid back, jazz cultured hippo cruising along a jungle river bank. Vivid sitar music is mixed with other cool sounds to make this a very entertaining song.

Orangutan Tango is a busy song with underlying Spanish guitar and decent flute.

Soothsayer Swing has a hip-cat swing mood to it. Think of a ‘60’s jazz combo doing an intro to a tune featuring Dino or Sinatra.

Andy Goes To Havana has an intro that might remind you of the 1970 tune from War called Spill The Wine. Yeah, you know the song I’m talking about. The song moves into a kind of samba styled jazz piece.

96 Coconuts also has a ‘60’s pop rock flavor to it.

Laguna De Luna has some great acoustic guitar.

Now What? is a cool, fast paced, pop rock jazz song with lots of action.

Spice Island might make you think of an island beach with fun and frolicking, sipping drinks with umbrellas in them and light romance.

The album ends with a vocal piece called A Balance of Extremes. A bit of Talking Heads mixed with ‘60’s spy / action film music is kind of what comes to mine here.

Bamboo Blue is definitely an intriguing album. World fusion vibes, along with slivers of 60’s and ‘70’s pop rock, mixed with smooth jazz riffs make the music on the album very entertaining.

You can grab a copy of Bamboo Blue at, CDBaby or through other online outlets.

Find out more about Chasm and Bamboo Blue at




© 2008 Bruce E Von Stiers