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...


Jim Ridl: Door in a Field

Joshua Weiner By

Sign in to view read count
"Concept" albums are commonplace in jazz these days, and some artists seem to release nothing but. On the best of these, the idea behind the record adds depth and cohesion to the music within, but too often we end up with weak conceits masking lack of invention (think about all the ". . .plays Jobim", or ". . .does showtunes" CDs in the racks). The new album by Philadelphia pianist Jim Ridl, Door In A Field , is an example of the former happy category.

Working in a trio format with bassist Daryl Hall and drummer Mark Walker, and aided by a string trio on several tracks, Ridl has composed and performed a heartfelt tribute to his parents, who raised him and his siblings on a North Dakota farm. Indeed, the project is quite a family affair, with Kathy Ridl featured on accordian and viola and a photograph of a Douglas Ridl sculpture in the CD booklet. Thankfully, Jim avoids all maudlin cliché and simplistic country windowdressing to deliver real jazz that manages to evoke the unadorned majesty of the prairie with subtlety and grace. The strings are sparingly employed in a classic manner, adding harmonic depth without ever sounding syrupy.

Ridl's style is melodic and cleanly delineated, with occasional excursions into rhythmic vamps and metric quirks to keep things interesting. "Sun On My Hands", the lead-off track, is a lovely ballad with a some enigmatic melodic turns. Hall introduces the infectiously bouncy melody of "Sweet Clover," which is then picked up and developed with aplomb by Ridl. Walker's funky backbeat drives Ridl's percolating piano along on the groovy "Six Hours Later", which is followed by the desolately beautiful title track in a stately 6. "Discin'" evokes the tractor's ever decreasing circles as the farmer harrows a field. A propulsive 10-beat phrase powers "Thirty Foot Ceiling", inspiring Ridl's best solo work; he's really cookin' here. An arrangement of the Czech folk song "Green Meadow Waltz" provides the album with a poignant, but good-humored conclusion.

Door In A Field was clearly a labor of love for Ridl, and his collaborators seem to have understood his vision. Together, the musicians have made a gorgeous album of great emotional and musical power. Concept or no, it is a special achievement.

Track Listing: Sun on My Hands; Sweet Clover; Caragana; Six hours Later; Door in a Field; Tenetree; Discin'; Thirty Foot Ceiling; Green Meadow Waltz.

Personnel: Jim Ridl, piano; Darryl Hall, bass; Mark Walker, drums; Diane Monroe, violin; Kathy Ridl, viola, accordian; Jeffrey Solow, cello

Title: Door in a Field | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Dreambox Media


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read This City CD/LP/Track Review
This City
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 24, 2018
Read More Songs About Error And Shame CD/LP/Track Review
More Songs About Error And Shame
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2018
Read West Coast Trio CD/LP/Track Review
West Coast Trio
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Sun Embassy CD/LP/Track Review
Sun Embassy
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 24, 2018
Read The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel – Beethoven Revisited Symphonies 1-9 CD/LP/Track Review
The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel –...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read "Onward" CD/LP/Track Review Onward
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 2, 2017
Read "Smokin’ in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse (1966)" CD/LP/Track Review Smokin’ in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse (1966)
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 14, 2017
Read "Cochonnerie" CD/LP/Track Review Cochonnerie
by John Sharpe
Published: November 24, 2017
Read "Calvins Toboggan" CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 16, 2017
Read "Agrima" CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 13, 2017
Read "Tempe Jetz" CD/LP/Track Review Tempe Jetz
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 11, 2017