All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

159

Brian Betz: Dichotomy

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
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

Related Articles

Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Charlie & Paul CD/LP/Track Review
Charlie & Paul
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Sunlight CD/LP/Track Review
Sunlight
by Jeff Winbush
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
Fullmoon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
Fullmoon
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Arise! CD/LP/Track Review
Arise!
by Chris May
Published: April 24, 2018
Read "II" CD/LP/Track Review II
by Kevin Press
Published: November 7, 2017
Read "Blues and Boogie Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Blues and Boogie Vol. 1
by Doug Collette
Published: December 3, 2017
Read "The Colours Suite" CD/LP/Track Review The Colours Suite
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 29, 2017
Read "OR" CD/LP/Track Review OR
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2018
Read "Awakening" CD/LP/Track Review Awakening
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 2, 2018
Read "Chain" CD/LP/Track Review Chain
by John Sharpe
Published: December 1, 2017