Wayne Horvitz & Sweeter Than The Day: A Walk In The Dark (2008)
This cumbersomely-named combo have been together for nearly a decade, just one of keyboardist Wayne Horvitz's many band projects. The concept appears to revolve around a desire to embrace an almost-acoustic modern traditionalism, while retaining a slightly skewed stance that recalls some of Horvitz's earlier forays into electro-groove. Lately, he appears to have forsaken that predilection for plugged-in keyboards, attending to the heart of the acoustic piano.
The disc was recorded in the band's Seattle base, with Timothy Young (guitar), Keith Lowe (bass) and Eric Eagle (drums) and all of the tunes are written by Horvitz. They make a deeply atmospheric start on the title track, slinking along like the new cool school, delicately stippling with a capering finesse. They explore gently, with Young subtly dampening strings as Horvitz tiptoes with verbose uninhibitedness. Young has a technique of gently fuzzing up his guitar in a quiet drizzle of harnessed extremity that perfectly suits the restrained threat of the material. Horvitz is interested in a measured dapple, trinkling carefully over the band's pulse on the inspirational blues shuffle of "A Walk In The Rain." It's perfectly poised until a spurt of guitaring in its final minute. Lusty drumming dominates "Between The Floors," forcing belligerence on the overall measured ponderousness.
The chief strategy is to alternate between these stalking urban groovers and a pool of sedate ballads, but even with "The 29th Day Of May," another softly scuzzed guitar solo disturbs the waters. "Inference' calls back a loping groove and now it's Lowe's moment, his pneumatic bass solo developing beside Eagle's brushed slither. The dominant character throughout is the tension between introverted romance and the swirling ghost of boogaloo, felt even without any Hammond organ in the house.
Track Listing: A Walk In The Dark; A Moment For Andrew; We Never Met; A Walk In The Rain; Undecided; Between The Floors; Waltz From Woman Of Tokyo; The 29th Day Of May; Inference; Good Shepherd; To A Toaster.
Personnel: Wayne Horvitz: piano; Timothy Young: guitar; Keith Lowe: bass; Eric Eagle: drums.
Record Label: Self Produced
Style: Modern Jazz