Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

415

The Chris Tarry Group: Almost Certainly Dreaming

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
With few bassists in jazz making electric their primary axe—and a recent AAJ interview with Canada-born, New York-based Chris Tarry finding him playing more acoustic bass than ever before—on the follow-up to The Chris Tarry Group's debut, Sorry to Be Strange (Cellar Live, 2006), the bassist's focus remains on the electric variety. He claims, "I never set out to make the electric bass sound like the acoustic bass. My goal was to make it function like the acoustic, and find concepts that would make that work. I thought, 'Why is it that no electric bass players can swing that well?'



There certainly are electric bassists who can swing (think Jaco Pastorius), but they are a relative rarity. Conventional swing by no means dominates Almost Certainly Dreaming, but the episodic "An Unlikely UFO swings hard during pianist Henry Hey's fiery solo, with Tarry and drummer Dan Weiss keeping the engine room stoked throughout.



Almost Certainly Dreaming benefits from a consistent line-up (other than Hey's replacement of charter member Jon Cowherd) that has more than a few miles under its belt, making it even more electrifying than Sorry to Be Strange. Tarry's seven originals were written with these musicians in mind, and covers significant stylistic territory. While there's no weak link in this chain, Toronto, Canada-based saxophonist Kelly Jefferson is the least-known of the bunch, and his fervent playing on the entire album, but especially on Tarry's dark-hued but gradually intensifying "Radio Princess and Hey's loosely funkified "Same Clothes, Different Day suggests more people ought to be paying attention.



It would be a mistake to call Almost Certainly Dreaming a fusion album, but it does possess a fusion attitude, all the more evident when Hey deserts acoustic piano for an overdriven Rhodes on "Same Clothes. Guitarist Pete McCann may be a capable acoustic guitarist on the folk-tinged but idiosyncratically lyrical "Prettiest Town of Goderich, but it's his raunchy tone and raucous (and reckless) abandon on tracks like the metrically challenging "In the Beginning that gives this album no shortage of teeth.



Weiss continues to prove himself one of the most flexible and listening drummers on the New York scene, busily driving the Spanish-tinged "Bedford Celebrities, while shifting from high velocity swing to powerful backbeat on "An Unlikely UFO.



Like Sorry to Be Strange, this is not a bassist's album, overloaded with bass solos. Tarry remains a team player more interested in composition and group dynamics, although his lithe melodism on "Prettiest Town is undeniably virtuosic.



As detailed as the writing is, it's even more open-ended than that of Sorry to Be Strange. Almost Certainly Dreaming demonstrates rapid growth and increased cohesion for a group that's swiftly forging an identifiable identity defined by inventive writing and playing that, while often visceral, doesn't place style ahead of substance. If they're this good in the studio, let's hope the next step is a live recording.


Track Listing: Bedford Celebrities; An Unlikely UFO; Radio Princess; Same Clothes, Different Day; Prettiest Town of Goderich; In the Beginning; Almost Certainly Dreaming; Alien Blueprints.

Personnel: Chris Tarry: electric bass; Henry Hey: piano and Rhodes; Kelly Jefferson: saxophone; Pete McCann: guitar; Dan Weiss: drums.

Title: Almost Certainly Dreaming | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Nineteen-Eight Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Rain or Shine CD/LP/Track Review Rain or Shine
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Copenhagen Live 1964 CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Live 1964
by John Sharpe
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Somewhere Glimmer CD/LP/Track Review Somewhere Glimmer
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by John Sharpe
Published: December 14, 2017
Read I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2017
Read "The AV Club" CD/LP/Track Review The AV Club
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 18, 2017
Read "Change Of Address" CD/LP/Track Review Change Of Address
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 6, 2017
Read "In Times Like These" CD/LP/Track Review In Times Like These
by James Nadal
Published: May 13, 2017
Read "Currents 0" CD/LP/Track Review Currents 0
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "Floating City" CD/LP/Track Review Floating City
by James Nadal
Published: March 9, 2017
Read "Clean" CD/LP/Track Review Clean
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 15, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!