3

Lee Tomboulian: Imaginarium

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Lee Tomboulian: Imaginarium Terry Gilliam's 2009 movie The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was a complex, complicated, fantasy tale. Lee Tomboulian's Imaginarium doesn't quite match Gilliam's ambitious, if flawed, breadth of vision—after all, Tomboulian constructs this particular Imaginarium with just a piano and an occasional accordion—but he still displays an impressive range of ideas on this enjoyable recording.

Tomboulian leads a variety of bands, including the Brazilian/Uruguayan Circo and Whenevs (formerly Return to Whenever). This solo outing finds him drawing on a mix of original tunes, classic jazz and Latin (plus a Bach prelude).

Most of the tunes here are solo piano pieces. "Sweet Georgia Brown" rolls along in a cheerfully upbeat fashion, mixing stride and boogie, with a descending bass line that almost leaps off the end of the keyboard and a cheeky faux-classical ending. John Coltrane's "Naima" is a much gentler proposition: Tomboulian gives it a rolling, flowing, rhythm that retains the tune's beauty. "Bohemian Rhapsody In Blue" combines Queen and George Gershwin: not, perhaps, a marriage made in Heaven—the blue rhapsody easily outshines the bohemian one—but Tomboulian's enthusiastic performance carries the day.

Imaginarium gets particularly interesting when Tomboulian straps on his accordion. He's played the instrument with Kenny Wheeler, Maria Schneider and Eliane Elias among others so his ability on the instrument is no surprise. Airto Moreira and Flora Purim's "Merry-Go-Round" is a perky, mid-tempo, solo accordion tune. "Black Morpheus," one of three Tomboulian compositions on Imaginarium, is more melancholy—the title gives a clue to its mood—despite the underlying tango feel. The album's showstopper is Egberto Gismonti's "A Falo da Paixao." Tomboulian gives this tune a rich combination of piano and accordion that highlights its pathos as well as its beauty.

Elizabeth Tomboulian's cover design features a ball of red wool inside a head-shaped maze. This may suggest some woolly-mindedness on Lee Tomboulian's part, but such an interpretation would be misguided. Imaginarium is a well-constructed album that takes a fresh look at some old favorites, especially when that accordion appears.


Track Listing: I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart; Hanon Merry Christmas; A Falo da Paixao; Inner Urge; Sweet Lorraine; Black Morpheus; Naima; Samberg; Sweet Georgia Brown; Bohemian Rhapsody In Blue; Merry-go-round; Prelude In C# Minor, BWV 849.

Personnel: Lee Tomboulian: piano, accordion (3, 6, 11).

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Beyond Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Volume 1
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Invisible Hand" CD/LP/Track Review Invisible Hand
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 12, 2017
Read "Don't Try You Are" CD/LP/Track Review Don't Try You Are
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: May 10, 2016
Read "Fulfillment" CD/LP/Track Review Fulfillment
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 4, 2016
Read "Afternoon In Paris" CD/LP/Track Review Afternoon In Paris
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 16, 2016
Read "Rope" CD/LP/Track Review Rope
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 6, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!