Pachora is one of the various musical projects of this 'hood's own Chris Speed, whose work I've praised in pages past. Pachora are a quartet consisting of reedsperson Speed concentrating on clarinet, Brad Shepik on sax (a lute-like instrument), Skuli Sverrison on electric bass and Jim Black on dumbek & percussion, and whose aesthetic aim is the jive-free fusion of Eastern European (specifically Balkan, I think), Greek and Northern African folk melodies and rhythms with the fluid, improvisational jazz (with the accent on the former). Ast is their third album and they just keep getting better & better. Speed's clarinet is bright, sinuous and soulful, the bass of S.S. is nimble as a cat, Shepik literally buzzes with colorful delight and Black, in virtually any context & any percussion instrument, is one of the most thoughtful and inventive fellows playing music, period. The program is all originals, dancing and pulsating with hypnoticmelody. The sole cover is David Bowie's "The Man Who Sold The World," which Pachora affectionately re-invents. Ast is clearly their finest moment & the disc that should win them new fans.