James Beaudreau: Fresh Twigs (2009)
One of the most compelling pieces is "Montmarte," a six-part suite that creates a captivating musical galaxy in five-and-a-half minutes. The different parts feature unabashedly beautiful melodies that gradually get more dissonant and spacious. Eventually they become downright deconstructive, with the final part a medley of twanging guitar, spacious percussion, and strange pieces of sound. "Montmarte" is reminiscent of the different patterns of brocade in a Tibetan Buddhist thangka: although each part is complete in itself, the combination of patterns play off one another and makes an altogether rich impression.
There's much to be praised in the other songs as well. "Opening Bell" explores the power of dynamics, combining a haunting melody with bursts of wild guitar twanging. "Strayhorn" features Beaudreau's delightfully spare picking, with each beautifully shaped note a small world in itself. "Parlor City" is a pretty song, lovely and lyrical with a delicate chiming quality, slowly escalating dynamics, and unexpected dips into dissonance. On "Fresh Twigs" Beaudreau cuts loose and reveals more of his range, including long rock 'n' roll guitar lines and a joyfully funky groove.
Fresh Twigs finds Beaudreau fulfilling the promise of Java St. Bagatelles and then some. Beaudreau is a musician of vast talent, with a wealth of ideas and exquisitely sensitive ears. It'll be interesting to hear what he does next.
Track Listing: Opening Bell; Gold Coast; Montmartre; Wick; Strayhorn; Twig; Rowing/Haint; Pacifico; Parlor City; Fresh Twigs.
Personnel: James Beaudreau: guitar, bass guitar, percussion; Mikey IQ Jones: percussion, electronics.
Record Label: Workbench
Style: Fringes of Jazz