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If Dave Storrs had chosen writing instead of music as his art, Waxing the Slide would take the form of an offbeat novel, the story told from the shifting perspectives of a series of first person narrators. Something along the lines of Louise Erdrich's The Beet Queen or Love Medicine, disparate perpsectives held together by the author's (music-maker's) bold and clearly focused vision.
Storrs is the brains and beat behind Louie Records, out of Corvallis, Oregon. He has been recording some of the Northwest's finest improvisational jazz players for the past several years, developing a distinctive and off the beaten path sound along the way.
Waxing the Slide is a sequenced/over-dubbed outing that combines set grooves with spontaneous creativity. Storrs laid down the tracks, tightened all the bolts down, oiled the moving partsand then invited his partners in music in. He let them listen to their song, and then gave them one take to do their part. The result is a facinating mix of Storrs' well and carefully crafted soundscapes juxtaposed with the loose, flowing improvisational voices out front... somewhat reminiscent of Miles Davis's Aura.
Much of the Louie crew is here: Tenor saxophonist Rich Halley, working his Northwest Zen-Bop sound over a Latin-ish groove ("absorbtion"); Brent Heyne stretches his trombone lines around around Storrs' gently bubbling background ("down @ the third stop"); Rob Blakeslee and Jim Knodle take trumpet turns; Tom Bergeron blows alto sax, sounding urgent and Ornette-ish ("quite quickly"); and Valerie Brown's vocal take on "nice tooth" has a whimsical, Zappa-esque feel.
As different as the individual voices are, Dave Storrs' ebullient and percussive underlying vision holds the effort togther; each performance is crafted and executed with distinction and a free-flowing musical joy. A perfect introduction to the "Louie Sound".
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.