Album Review of

Written by Joe Ross
November 28, 2019 - 2:05am EST
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Ronin is the duo of Geoffrey Mays and Robert Bouley, and they play “samurai blues and chindonya jazz.” Their music resonates with integrity but also has a humorous, playful street-like quality. In Japan’s feudal times, Ronin were wandering samurai warriors who had no lord or master. These musicians emphasize their freedom and independence. My initial impression of their album “San” (meaning “three” in Japanese) is that Mays and Bouley had a blast recording a few jams with guitar, percussion, bass and a looping machine. On greater examination, I found that the nine Geoffrey Mays’ originals (ranging from 2 to 14 minutes in length) are more about self-awareness than self-indulgence. Each song has character and delivers an honest, uncompromising vision about how he thinks, what he thinks, as well as how the duo views their art. Born and raised in Japan, Mays uses the opening track, “Kamakura Desu Yo!” to invite us to the “land of the Buddah.”  Impressionistic sonic soundscapes are painted in “The Light Upon Your Face,” “Aidan’s Dream,” and “Tunisian Odyssey.” Some extended jams are found in “Mr Atlas” and “Astro Funk,” both perhaps a few minutes longer than necessary for concise, perfect musical servings in a world of limited resources. A self-professed “citizen of the world,” Mays conveys passion for world peace, unity, and harmony. Together, Ronin (Mays and Bouley) put great depth of feeling into their music, and their emotional statements bridge cultural boundaries.  (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)