The Four Bags: Offshore (2004)
The Four Bags' novel lineup features Brian Drye on trombone, Tom Aldrich on accordion, Sean Moran on guitar, and Michael McGinnis on saxophone and clarinet. The sound the band achieves recalls, in both instrumentation as well as mood and spirit, the Beatles' side trips into vaudeville and music hall, such as "When I'm Sixty-Four and "Honey Pie. "Beach sounds like the soundtrack to an elderly couple's enjoyable Sunday drive to the shore. Elsewhere, "Humble Daisy, composed by Andy Partridge, is arranged with the same lovely lushness that Brian Wilson might summon.
Offshore is an impeccably performed album that puts a great deal of emphasis on group dynamics, often recalling chamber music. At the same time, there is inevitably a certain chilly detachment about the project, which makes me wonder if the album is less a statement than an exercise. No doubt, there is pleasure to be found on the album, but one must wonder how much depth is to be found in repeated listening.
Track Listing: Humble Daisy; The Pioneers; The Brothers El-Sayed; You And I; Beach; Two Mazurkas; Ballad; Last Tango In NYC; Spop; Energy Plan; Wedding Piece; O.K. Aki
Personnel: Brian Drye-trombone; Tom Aldrich-accordion; Sean Moran-guitar; Michael McGinnis-saxophone and clarinet
Record Label: NCM East
Style: Modern Jazz