159

Brian Betz: Dichotomy

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Brian Betz: Dichotomy This release reaches us courtesy of the label that put out the recent Tyrone Brown album Suite For John A. Williams, which was not far from greatness. There, however, any degree of overlap ends. This is a far more straight-ahead affair by an exceptionally cohesive quartet, and while there is much to admire, the singular quality that was palpable in the Brown is not in evidence here.

Betz's guitar shows no overt stylistic influence, though his slightly oblique feel for harmony might put some listeners in mind of Jim Hall; this is best exemplified by his solo reading of Billy Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge." His innate feel for that composer's sometimes melancholy moods is joy for the ears.

Drummer Jim Miller can sometimes be a little off-putting, not least on "Cohabitation," which storms a few barns by way of opening the disc. The feeling of perpetual motion that Miller is presumably aiming for here is a difficult thing to attain, and it's an entirely subjective matter whether or not he achieves it here.

Elsewhere, however, he proves he knows the meaning of subtlety, as on Betz's own "The Twenty-Second Day," where the leader proves that he and his cohorts have the late-night thing down to a fine art; Betz's work is lyrical at the same time as it hints at all sorts of harmonic possibilities.

Such is the level of cohesion throughout this date that one must assume this is a working band. The only other option is that the players were granted an unusual amount of studio time in preparation. Whatever the case, the outcome is music that on one level is agreeable background, but on another has substance enough to reward closer and repeated listening. More specifically, lovers of jazz guitar played in the idiom of the sometimes pervasive-seeming post bop mainstream will find much to enjoy here.


Track Listing: Cohabitation; Dichotomy; This Way To The Cape; The Shadow Of Your Smile; Chelsea Bridge; You Stepped Out Of A Dream; The Twenty-Second Day; Razor Sharp (for Denny); Carrot Cake; Multicoloured.

Personnel: Brian Betz: guitar; Jim Ridl: piano; Steve Varner: bass; Jim Miller: drums.

Title: Dichotomy | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Dreambox Media


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read 90 Going On Amazing CD/LP/Track Review 90 Going On Amazing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter CD/LP/Track Review Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: August 21, 2017
Read L.O.T.U.S. CD/LP/Track Review L.O.T.U.S.
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Art in the Age of Automation CD/LP/Track Review Art in the Age of Automation
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Screen Sounds CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 20, 2017
Read "Countdown" CD/LP/Track Review Countdown
by Doug Collette
Published: September 17, 2016
Read "Kingdom" CD/LP/Track Review Kingdom
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 20, 2017
Read "Oaktree" CD/LP/Track Review Oaktree
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 12, 2017
Read "Signals" CD/LP/Track Review Signals
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 13, 2017
Read "Desire & Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2016
Read "Jazz Jukebox" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Jukebox
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 31, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.