The seemingly ubiquitous presence of the flute, the Fender Rhodes and the vibraphone on this album The Dryad by the quixotically-named IfIHAdAHifi gives the music a sense of joyful radiance. The Caribbean rhythms – calypso, reggae, ska and other more African rhythms – increase that joyousness in manifold ways – even without the de rigueur vocalist that almost always anoints African and Caribbean music.
You will find yourself coming back to this music more than once. The songs have an aura of mystery – especially the song entitled The Dryad, which leaps and bounds in mystical time with the blithe tree sprite after whom it is named. The Phrygian Modes – played in dyads and triads, contrapuntally, by the clearly accomplished musicians – add a sense of lively balletic arcs to the melody. Again, one cannot help but visualise that tree sprite making the music come alive with her dancing and prancing. And there is much more to cheer about in this repertoire, which one discovers – often even in the first pass of this music, although [one is happy to report], the pleasure grows exponentially the more you listen.
This is also no copycat music inspired by Caribbean or African and Near-Eastern musicians. This stems from the fact that the music glows and dances with its Grecian – Phrygian and also Lydian Modes. One also hears more modern gestures revealed in the swooping dissonances that the pied piper in the person of Jamichael Frazier, on The Phoenician, Catch Some Honey and Spirit Dance. The latter song has a lovely light and dark feel to it – manifest in the ascending and descending melodic lines.
This is clearly a percussionist’s album. The predominance of percussion – mallet percussion, drums and minor percussion – make it stand out among the rest of the music you are likely to hear. The simply, linear melodies are made to sing and dance by cleverly combining the flute and percussion, iced on top of all of this activity by keyboards redolent of glimmering sounds from the Wurlitzer piano and the Fender Rhodes. All of this suggests an attempt – quite successfully, one may add – to ring in the bell-like changes. The effect that this instrumentation produces on the senses is quite magical.
Liner notes suggest that this is the handiwork of three intrepid musicians – Gideon Frankel, Jamichael Frazier and Gianluca Manfredonia. Their collective artistic vision has certainly percolated into the artistic senses of the rest of the ensemble who are listed below. Plenty of unusual-sounding music that matches the name of the group, all of it quite seductive and beckoning as well…
Tracks – 1: Broken Dreams; 2: The Dryad; 3: Burning Blues; 4: Chocolate Box; 5: Sweet Tears; 6: The Phoenician; 7: Catch Some Honey; 8: Spirit Dance; 9: The Start of Something; 10: Evenings; 11: Mellow Jive
Musicians – Jamichael Frazier: flutes; Reinaldo Ocando: drums and percussion [1 – 4, 7 – 9, 11], and vibraphone ; Mauro Regulez: drums ; Pepe Rodríguez: drums ; Gianluca Manfredonia: vibraphone [3, 6 – 8]; Clara Zuchetti: vibraphone [6, 9]; Levade Paoli: vibraphone [1, 4]; Antoine Veskovski: vibraphone ; Kai Stensgaard: vibraphone ; Gideon Frankel: Wurlitzer and pianet, and bass [2, 4, 6 – 10]; Paolo “Pee Wee” Durante: Wurlitzer and pianet [2, 7]; Abramo Riti: Fender Rhodes ; Miguel Valazquez: bass [5, 11]; Leonardo Vall: bass ; Albert Mora: bass 
Released – 2022
Label – Naked Muse
Runtime – 32:07