This album is another indication of the many forms the basic elements of jazz can be adapted to. Keyboard and accordion player, Dave Leslie, applies jazz principles to a series of tunes based in foreign lands. There are pieces which have rhythms derived from the Balkans, Ireland, Bulgaria, etc. On this international musical escapade, Leslie is joined by musicians who regularly appear on Dave Storrs' Corvallis, Oregon-based Louie label, including the inestimable Mr. Storrs himself on drums and percussion.
To be sure, there are different, maybe even strange, combinations of melodic inventions on some cuts. "In the Now" has what sounds like harmonic forms from China and the Near East played over an unrelenting hip hop rhythmic foundation. Leslie's accordion has fragments of Italy mixed in with sounds from other destinations on the medley of "Linger Awhile"/"Pass". Perhaps the liner notes should have had a match `em quiz with the titles listed in one column and countries/regions listed in the other. Whatever, Leslie is one of the more advanced players of an instrument normally associated with country/folk/mood music. This is not Art Van Damme playing the hand-held squeeze box, but a true virtuoso with chops matched only by the likes of a Cidinho Teixeira.
Serious music isn't the only kind to be found on this disc. The players clearly are having some fun with "Lucky Fella". There's plenty of bop on "Seattle Plus 35" and a romantic interlude with "Fall 92". Despite the obvious talent and determination of the performers and the winsomeness of the compositions, I found after a while that the ideas began to wear thin and that if you are not a modern jazz accordion devotee, matters begin to wear quite thin.
Track Listing: Crackers `n' Sherbert; As Easy As; Linger Awhile/Pass; Second Smartest of all Dogs; Gnarles; In the Now; Fall 92; George's Dilemma; The Brim; Seattle Plus 35; Broken Circle; Lucky Fella; Reunion
Personnel: Dave Leslie - Keyboards/Accordion; Dave Storrs - Drums/Percussion; Tom Bergeron - Alto & Soprano Sax; Mike Curtis - Clarinet & Soprano Sax; Page Hundemer - Electric Bass; Keller Coker - Trombone; Steve Willis - Guitar
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.