guitar; Ed Bennett, bass; Dave Winstock, drums) – Saphu SCD-0017 ****
Again, this has to
be first jazz album with the feature instrument throughout being the
viola! There’s plenty of jazz violin out there but it’s lower-pitched
partner from the symphony orchestra is not even heard that much in
classical music as a solo instrument, and in jazz not at all until this
unique effort. I don’t know anything about Barry, other than the Saphu
label is the baby of bassist Ed Bennett and based in Portland, Oregon.
While I don’t see a cable coming out of his instrument in the photo of
Barry, the sound of the viola has an electronic quality to it, probably
to match more successfully with the electric guitar.
The opening Andre Previn hit of the 60s, Like Young, comes on with lots
energy and bounce – the viola being heard in its higher register.
Monk’s Trinkle Trinkle lacks the impact of the usual Monk tune with
piano and sax, but doesn’t lose its quirky Monkish character in the
more mellow treatment. The longest track of the half dozen here is the
classic Soft Winds, at ten minutes. All present take some intriguing
solos, with guitarist Keyser’s a standout. The closing (and title tune)
blues is a Barry original, as well as is the earlier Easy Groove.
Anyone with a hankering for jazz violin would surely dig this hot viola
Tracks: Like Young, Trinkle Trinkle, My Foolish Heart, Easy Groove, Soft Winds, Blew Year’s Proposition.