Panoramic takes a wide-angle view of music. Formed by steelpan virtuoso Liam Teague and Robert Chappell (piano, marimba, vibes, tabla), the group combines intricate original compositions and intense improvisations with calypso, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and even East Indian rhythms. With Orlando Cotto, congas, Doug Stone, saxophones, Phil Beale, drum set, and Joshua Ramos, bass, Panoramic pays tribute to its member’s Caribbean heritage while seamlessly integrating the band’s musical experiences in jazz, classical and world genres into a unified whole.
Trinidadian Liam Teague is considered to be one of the finest pannists performing today. Fluent in calypso, jazz and even as concerto soloist with symphony orchestra, Teague takes the pan to new heights, demonstrating the myriad possibilities of the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago. Multi-instrumentalist and composer Robert Chappell is noted for his compositions integrating world genres, and congeuro Orlando Cotto drives the band with endless energy. Teague, Chappell and Cotto have recorded over 15 solo and group CD’s and have performed throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean.
CD Liner Notes
1. "Panoramic" (Liam Teague, 5:31). The steelpan (steel drum) and calypso are two great musical gifts from the people of Trinidad and Tobago. Calypso melodies, political commentaries on contemporary events, are used as the basis for theme and variation in steel band arrangements each Carnival season. This original Teague instrumental is dedicated to calypsonian David Rudder.
2. Orlando Cotto is a multitasking master on the marimba, performing three Afro-Cuban patterns at once. "Orlando’s Cha Cha" (Robert Chappell, 6:05) opens with Cotto’s independent montunos, progresses through a sequence of unconventional melodies, and concludes with scorching solos by Stone and Cotto.
3. Trinidadian society is an amalgamation of the African and East Indian peoples who populate the island. "Chant" (Liam Teague, 7:24) finds its inspiration from Indian raga, tala and also from the groundbreaking fusion group Shakti.
4. The polyrhythmic foundation of African music has greatly impacted musical genres as diverse as jazz, samba, and soca. "Ivory Coast" (Robert Chappell, 5:14) is based on the number twelve, arguably the most important number in African rhythm. The Cuban bata drums demonstrate some of these mathematical possibilities.
5. "88 Degrees in the Shade" (Robert Chappell, 5:22) was composed in my “58 degrees in the Arctic” basement studio with dreams of a tropical Caribbean island
6. An incredibly beautiful bossa/samba, "Pearls" (Liam Teague, 6:11) is dedicated to Pearl, Russell, Audra Marie and Angela Teague.
7. "Nikkara" (Robert Chappell, 6:16), two ancient drums from Turkey, evolved into orchestral timpani in Europe and tabla drums in India. Loosely based on Bollywood grooves, the piece also employs elements of classical Indian music.
8. In searching for a title for this Brazilian tune, I happened upon Calcados Feliz" (Robert Chappell, 6:33) on the internet. The Portuguese meaning is happy footwear. I hope your feet are happy dancing to this tune.
PANORAMIC Member Bios
LIAM TEAGUE - Tenor and Double Second Steelpans
Hailed as a prodigy in his native Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies, Liam Teague won his first national steelpan competition at the age of 13, one year after he began playing the instrument. Since then, every step in Liam's musical development has focused on his goal of taking the steelpan from its street roots to the concert hall. As Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune wrote, “If anyone can elevate the lowly steel drum from the beach to the concert stage, it’s Liam Teague.”
Teague premiered the Jan Bach, Concerto for Steelpan and Orchestra, with the Chicago Symphonietta in 1995 at Orchestra Hall. Since then he has performed this piece with eight orchestras including the Czech National Philharmonic, the Buffalo Symphony, the Sinfonia da Camera, and the St. Louis Symphony as their national concerto competition winner. His performances have been universally praised: “Liam Teague is a certified virtuoso. Wielding his mallets at top speed, he unleashed cascades of sound as dazzling as the violin arpeggios and cadenzas of a Midori or a Gil Shahm,” (Chicago Sun-Times) John Von Rhein of the Chicago Tribune wrote, “In soft lyrical passages Teague coaxed sweet, bell-like tones from the soprano steelpan . . . In the neo-baroque Toccata finale he seemed the musical equivalent of Leroy Burrell running the 100-meter dash . . . The audience exploded in cheers and whistles refusing to let Teague leave the stage until he had given them a solo encore.” In November of 2001, Teague premiered his second concerto for pan and orchestra, “Three Fantasies for Steelpan and Orchestra” by Joey Sellers.
Liam has released six CD's on the Engine Room label including Hands Like Lightning, Emotions of Steel, Impressions, Teague/Tappin, and the 2002 release A Christman Gift. He has performed throughout North American and the Caribbean as soloist with orchestras, in recital with Liam Teague +/Robert Chappell, as soloist with college steelbands, and with the world-jazz group, Panoramic. Teague and Chappell released their first duo CD, For Lack of Better Words in July 2002 on Rhythmic Union Records.
Teague received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in steelpan performance from Northern Illinois University, studying with Al O'Connor and Clifford Alexis. He has recently received an appointment as Assistant Professor of Music and Head of Steelpan studies at NIU where he teaches steelpan majors from the United States, Japan, Trinidad, Jamaica, Denmark, and Greneda and co-directs the famed NIU Steel Band.
ROBERT CHAPPELL-piano, marimba, tabla
Robert Chappell's career has encompassed an inclusive range of musical styles and genres in performance, education and composition. After receiving degrees in percussion performance from Ohio State University and the University of North Texas, Chappell’s interest in world percussion resulted in continued study of Ugandan amadinda xylophone, West African drumming, and East Indian tabla (Ustad Zakir Hussain and Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri). He received an Indo-American Research Fellowship in 1990 for study with renowned tabla master Ustad Alla Rakha in Bombay, India.
Robert has performed with the Columbus, Ft. Worth, Dallas and Indianapolis Symphonies, and toured internationally and recorded with the Paul Winter Consort and his own world-jazz group, Rhythmic Union. Since 1998, Chappell has been performing with steelpan virtuoso Liam Teague in Liam Teague + Robert Chappell and since 2002 with the world-jazz group, Panoramic. Their duo CD, For Lack of Better Words, was released in 2002 on Rhythmic Union Records.
Active as an educator for 26 years, Chappell has taught at the University of North Texas, Indiana State University, and is Professor of Music and Head of Percussion Studies at Northern Illinois University. He is also Program Director at the Birch Creek Music Center in Door County, Wisconsin where he leads the Percussion/Steel Band Camp every summer. In 2003, Chappell received NIU’s highest teaching honor, the Presidential Teaching Professorship Award.
A composer in contemporary, jazz, and cross-cultural idioms, Robert's works have been published by Marimba Productions, Panyard and Pan Press. His steel band composition Wood-N-Steel was premiered by the NIU Steel Band at the National Concert Hall in Taipei, Taiwan and an orchestrated version has been performed with the Chicago Symphonietta, the Rockford Symphony and the Buffalo Philharmonic. Wood-N-Steel was the top scoring composition in two rounds of the World Steelband Festival 2000 held in Port of Spain, Trinidad as The Northern Illinois University Steelband placed second in the world in competition with six international and eleven Trinidadian steel bands. Robert is a Yamaha, Sabian and Mike Balter artist.