The Circle of Willis: The Circle of Willis (2003)
If there is one constant that plays in this Circle, it is an oddball approach to music. The trio, perhaps more a triangle, just about kisses the hem of jazz as they skirt the periphery with nods to klezmer, show tunes, Kurt Weill and fractured time signatures. This advent sits in comfortably most of the time, but there are occasions when the askance point of view splutters. This happens off the bat in “The Pouch of Douglas” where the tangents the players indulge in, a start-and-stop romp more suited to vaudeville, results in unsatisfying resolution.
It is apparent that they like being quirky. It is also apparent that the rest of the music is better harnessed, even when they do it “For Marie,” a flirt with the blues that dissolves in to the shade of klezmer music before it quickly emerges and makes its way as a melancholic ballad. There is more woof to the warp and it comes in one fell “Mr. Scoop,” a jaunty ride that is Weillesian in temper. Wayne Peet brings in bright color, a happy frisk to his step, perfectly augmented by Bill Barrett's clean and wholesome voicings while Scot Ray expresses a disjunctive point of view, yowling below them, setting loose both a smear and a blap for well documented effect. There is more method, and a little madness, on “The Colonel’s Zhok.” Peet pirouettes, Ray blows a broadside of thick, swaddling notes drenched in the blues and Barrett takes the road of the high flying note, just this side of a wail and full of whammy. There is a nook full of surprises here, most of them pleasant.
Track Listing: The Pouch of Douglas; For Marie; Rayos X; Mabo Lasaine; Iron John
Personnel: Bill Barrett
Record Label: Anatomy
Style: Fringes of Jazz