The accordion has been used very little in jazz. This is understandable, given its apparent limitations as an instrument for improvisation despite its rich sonority. It is not surprising, then, that Will Holshauser concentrates on the melody and coaxes it as far as it will go without falling in to a chasm. Improvisation, however, is the zen for trumpeter Ron Horton and bassist David Phillips, whose dynamics are laudable indeed, and for the redoubtable drummer Kevin Norton whose intuition for space and time is certainly a cause for elation.
Holshauser shows distinct flair as a composer, imbuing Reed Song with a wide range of musical styles. His cornucopia has much to stir and delight the senses. Care for a tango? It's in there. Want some klezmer music? You got it. Looking for European romanticism? Sure! And there is some blues as well, which comes out swinging and jaunty on "Blue Light Special before the trio glove together and then open the door for Phillips, whose arco phrasing is a study in enunciation. The title tune has a haunting hymnal air. Holshouser brings in a mother lode of richness to the texture of "Reed Song," introduced sedately by Phillips. And when Horton enters, the lyrical bliss becomes complete. When the quartet plays "For The Birds, it is time to kick up the heels and whirligig. This piece has theatrics, a burnished, punchy solo from Horton and exhilaration splashed right across. Enjoy!
Personnel: Will Holshauser: accordion; Ron Horton: trumpet; David Phillips: double bass; Kevin Norton: drums (on tracks 6 and 10)