Monday, January 5, 2009

Review -- SIMON FISK / CHRIS GESTRIN / JERRY GRANELLI -- Vague Hotels

VAGUE HOTELS
Simon Fisk / Chris Gestrin / Jerry Granelli
Plunge Records
9-out-of-10
When Vague Hotels arrived I was immediately intrigued, since the first name on the album is that of Simon Fisk.
Regular readers, especially those who appreciate Jazz, may recall a review of Fisk's You and Yours CD back in October 2007, a disk which rated a nine. That tells you the guy impressed then.
On Vague Hotels Fisk teams with Chris Gestrin and Jerry Granelli, and the trio has come up with another strong jazz album.
So what does each performer bring to the mix? Fisk plays double bass, and he uses it to lay a strong underpinning to the music here.
Gestrin is the piano man, and Granelli the drummer.
It's bare bones instrumentation, although Fisk adds in some electronics and Gestrin mixes in some effects of his own, so the sound is bigger and more diverse than you might expect from the base instrument selection.
This time around the music has a bit more of a free form feel to it, especially on a cut such as You Won't See Me Again, but then again a lot of the best of current jazz has a feel like there was only a few lines of music actually written, and after that the guys just went with the flow.
There are also lots of interesting twists to the music here. The opening to Don't Throw Stones has a darkness to it, over laid with a sort of old Orient feel. The combination makes you sit up and take notice of what is to follow, and what follows is one of the finest cuts on the CD.
In total there are a dozen cuts here, and each adds to the tapestry of the overall effort. The trio weaves some rather intricate musical pieces in the process.
The slow, quiet intro to Of No Consequence is beautiful in its approach, and then the intro gives way to a rather classically styled jazz piece. The combination is a very nice effect.
For jazz fans this is certainly one to look for. An excellent CD.
Check it out at www.simonfisk.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS

-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Dec. 31, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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