Over the past five years, bassist Eivind Opsvik has gained a considerable reputation around New York as a strong, resourceful jazz bassist. He's been tapped by the likes of Tony Malaby, Paul Motian and Kris Davis for their groups. His own ensemble Overseas (currently Malaby, Kenny Wollesen and Jacob Sacks), with three albums to date, has impressively shown his jazz credentials as an instrumentalist, composer and arranger. He's a player who's comfortable with all of the post-John Coltrane/Ornette Coleman permutations of improvised music. But he also crosses the stream into rock(ish) territory in his duo with guitarist Aaron Jennings. Their first release focused on mostly electronics while the second added more acoustic instruments to their brew. With A Dream I Used To Remember, electronics and programming take a back seat as a wide array of acoustic instruments come to the fore.
The material on A Dream I Used to Remember contains a strong melodic streak. Grand melodies emerge from simple two-note figures; a little fillip will pass by almost unnoticed then become the main melody. The tracks are dense and filled with all sorts of surprises. Occasionally, a sweet heavenly choir appears from out of nowhere then slips back into the ether. A brass band provides decoration on "Another Lane Parade" and is part of a choir on "September And Starry Eyed." Instruments such as pump organ, banjo, steel guitar and various odd sounding keyboards have a prominent role in the fabric of this music.
Electronics still play a role, though, as the title track is made up of loops, crackly static and a tinkling music box that illustrates the dream state beautifully. The sound is sculpted from track to track but these ten pieces make a cohesive whole. Opsvik & Jennings are clearly skilled arrangers and instrumentalists, regardless of the style of music in which they are working.
Track Listing: A Dream I Used To Remember; Canada; Swimming Back Into The Picture; Anchor Lane Parade; Windswept; Steam And Bells; Sleepy Rush; The Good Eye; September And Starry Eyed; Sunroad.
Personnel: Eivind Opsvik: bass, electric bass, drums, percussion, lap steel guitar, piano, pump organ, keyboards, glass, vocals, software; Aaron Jennings: guitars, acoustic guitars, banjo, vocals, electronics, software; Nova Chamber Choir: vocals; Brian Dye: trombone; Rich Johnson: trumpet; Rob Jost: french horn; R.J. Miller: drums; Peter Opsvik: flute; Michelle Arcila: vocals.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.