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For those listeners acquainted with Daniel Barry's musical journey only through his conductor/arranger gig with the Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra (SWOJO) and their fine traditional, straight-ahead sets under his directorshipDreamcatcher (OA2 Records, 2006) and Meeting of the Water (OA2 Records, 2007)the man's music under his own name may be a bit of a surprise. While his SWOJO sound is an easy categorization, Barry's Walk All Ways couldn't possibly be harder to pin a label on.
The instrumentation will lend some idea as to the sound: violin, cello, woodwinds (bass clarinet, clarinet, flute), accordion, bass, drums, and congas, along with Barry's cornet and melodica, plus a bunch of percussion. The music this globally borderless chamber-like group makes can sound old world, folk song European one momentwith its sweet, expansive accordion washes dancing with the more succinct violin notes on "Nini's Dream"or darkly South American the next, on "La Folia Lando," that opens with a despondent bass clarinet cry in front of an accordion drone, later joined by the rich cello tone and the low resonance, knock-on-the door sound of the Peruvian cajon behind Barry's tangy-yet melancholic cornet rumination.
"Mighty Urubamba" opens the set, with congas punctuating a fluid chamber sound, Barry out front on his horn. "Pharoah's Gathering" shakes to life with a glittering jangle of percussion behind accordion and flute, and brings the exuberant, highly dance-able Zulu jive sound to mind, while "Junebug" explores a more serious landscape, with a dark woodwind sound swirling around the cello and violin that gives way to the accordion underlain by a booming percussion.
Walk All Ways veers a long way from the mainstream vision of the Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra approach, but it's sensuous rhythms and vivacious mix of world/classical/jazz sounds makes it a gorgeously unique listening experience.
Track Listing: Mighty Urubamba; Prayer; Pastorale Zipole; Nini's Dream; La Folia Lando; Fuga Bembe; Still Life; Walk All Ways; Somewhere Far Away; Junebug; Nandini; Pharoah's Gathering.
Personnel: Daniel Barry: cormet, melodica, misc. percussion; James DeJoie: bass clarinet, clarinet, flute, baritone saxophone; Alicia Allen: violin; Ruth Marshall: cello; Steve Rice accordion; Chris Symer: bass; Scott Ketron: drums, congas; Susan Pascal: vibrphone (9), marimba (12); Ernesto Pedianco: congas (1); Will Dowd: cajon: (5).
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.