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Tom Teasley: Global Standard Time

Douglas Payne By

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Global Standard Time evidences an exuberant musical scenarist in Washington, DC-area percussionist Tom Teasley. For his fourth disc (following last year's 'word beat' collaboration with poet-actor Charles Williams), the percussionist makes a case for himself as a highly imaginative conceptualist. He's anything but a busy noise-maker anxious to play with all his toys. Rather, Teasley is a colorful, intellectual and surprisingly spare musician, employing his talents in the orchestration of sound.

Here, he covers ten rather too-familiar jazz standards: two by Monk, one each by Ellington, Coltrane, Luis Bonfa, McCoy Tyner, John Coltrane and a welcome oddity from Sonny Rollins ("No Moe"). But he renders them inventively — with either attractively unusual instrumentation (in most cases buoyed by guitar, flute and trombone) or by reconsidering their familiar rhythms altogether.

For instance, Teasley redefines both "Straight No Chaser" and "Well You Needn't" by cutting them to half time, giving the former a Bayou party swagger and the latter (with the leader on electric piano) a quirky funk mannerism. He goes baroque on "Beautiful Love" (which, like "My Foolish Heart" reveals a highly creative voice on vibraphone) and by arranging "Manha de Carnaval" as a waltz for flute and Linda Teasley's wordless vocals, nearly achieves something ethereal.

The disc is especially highlighted by lovely readings of the lullaby "Alice in Wonderland" and the moody "Equinox" (both showcasing Teasley's less-is-more talents) and, most especially, the always too exotic "Caravan." On this evocative slice of Ellingtonia, Teasley lets the lightness of the acoustic guitar lead the procession, with ever-subtle punctuation from flute and trombone while the percussionist ingeniously deploys unusual uses of unusual percussion (in this case, an Irish bodran hand drum, a Middle Eastern rig and an African udu).

Global Standard Time offers much that is worth hearing: intriguing and appealing instrumental combinations, notable musicianship (Teasley especially, but also Rick Whitehead's guitar and John Jensen's trombone) and an accomplished taste of Tom Teasley's unlimited talents.

Track Listing: Straight No Chaser; Caravan Manha de Carnaval; Beautiful Love; Alice in Wonderland; Passion Dance; Equinox; My Foolish Heart; No Moe; Well You Needn't.

Personnel: Tom Teasley: drums, percussion, vibes, keyboards; Rick Whitehead: guitar; John Previti: bass; John Jensen: trombone; John Wubbenhorst: flute; Linda Teasley: vocals on "Manha de Carnaval"

Title: Global Standard Time | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: T&T Music

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