4

Bill Carrothers: Family Life

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Bill Carrothers: Family Life Nostalgia, if overused, can be a dangerous drug but, when the dosage is just right, it can serve as a wonderful gateway into an artist's personalized realm. Such is the case with pianist Bill Carrothers' Family Life. Carrothers broke his trio recording habit, which is well-documented on his prior Pirouet releases, and sat down all by his lonesome to produce this pianistic trip down memory lane.

While no single mood or ideal defines this work, Carrothers often conjures a bucolic and peaceable beauty that can be viewed as a musical representation of his family's rural existence in a sparsely populated section of Michigan. The album-opening "Our House," "Bud And Bunny" (borrowing his children's nicknames for a title) and "Good Dog" all wear this quality well. Other numbers ("For Better And For Worse") hint at this ideal, but in a more reflective and less obvious manner.

Carrothers' carefree delivery on some of this material is essential to its character, but it doesn't define his character. When he digs deeper and goes beneath the surface, he provides a more well-rounded view of himself and he comes up with some music that goes a step---or a mile---beyond the beauteous and subdued. His bluesy and free-spirited side comes through during "A Night Out," he taps into his inner-Philip Glass for the arpeggio-driven "Northern Lights," and he delivers dreary, yet steadfast and resolute thoughts during "Forefathers." Dark musings come into play on "Schizophrenic Weather," which alludes to Thelonious Monk in subtle fashion and proves to be one of the high points on the album, but the most outlandish and enjoyable number is the action-packed "On The Sled." Steady, clustered chords mix with bluesy ideas and strange asides as Carrothers creates some sort of hybrid of Igor Stravinsky and Jaki Byard. While this piece proves to be a real eye-opener, Carrothers usually prefers soothing thoughts to musical sensationalism.

This album is essentially an autobiography for the ears, and an excellent one at that. Carrothers filters his very being through his fingers on the brilliant, personalized piano statement of Family Life.

Track Listing: Our House; Scarborough Fair/Peg; For Better and for Worse; Bud and Bunny; Northern Lights; Snowbound; On the Sled; Schizophrenic Weather; Forefathers; Good Dog; A Night Out; Harbor Lights; News From Home; Gitchee Gumee; When We're Old.

Personnel: Bill Carrothers: piano.

Title: Family Life | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Pirouet Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Centreline Theory" CD/LP/Track Review Centreline Theory
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 26, 2016
Read "Chicago II" CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Jazzin' Around Christmas" CD/LP/Track Review Jazzin' Around Christmas
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 8, 2016
Read "Dancing Our Way To Death" CD/LP/Track Review Dancing Our Way To Death
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "Celebrating Elvin Jones" CD/LP/Track Review Celebrating Elvin Jones
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 11, 2016
Read "Sea Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Sea Ahead
by James Nadal
Published: July 28, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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