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...

3

Lee Tomboulian: Imaginarium

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
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).

Title: Imaginarium | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Take Five With...
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Imaginarium

Imaginarium

Self Produced
2013

buy
Return to Whenever

Return to Whenever

Self Produced
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read Vilddjur CD/LP/Track Review
Vilddjur
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Lines in Sand CD/LP/Track Review
Lines in Sand
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Like A Fire That Consumes All Before It CD/LP/Track Review
Like A Fire That Consumes All Before It
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 11, 2018
Read The Brave CD/LP/Track Review
The Brave
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Strings 1 CD/LP/Track Review
Strings 1
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Pillars CD/LP/Track Review
Pillars
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 10, 2018
Read "A New Shade Of Blue" CD/LP/Track Review A New Shade Of Blue
by Chris May
Published: August 21, 2018
Read "Ship" CD/LP/Track Review Ship
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 8, 2018
Read "Goya" CD/LP/Track Review Goya
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 7, 2018
Read "Rummage Out" CD/LP/Track Review Rummage Out
by John Sharpe
Published: November 10, 2018
Read "Barefoot Dances and Other Visions" CD/LP/Track Review Barefoot Dances and Other Visions
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 12, 2018
Read "Blued Dharma" CD/LP/Track Review Blued Dharma
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 29, 2018