Eighth Notes: A Few Quick Reviews

Dave Hartl, Pianist Dementia: Music of Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa was one of the most important composers of the 20th century. To say the least, his music was no day at the beach when it came to learning and playing it correctly. So how could one boil down such glorious complexity down to a single instrument? Pianist Dave Hartl found a way. The proof is found in his album Pianist Dementia, Hartl takes on some of Zappa’s most riveting and complex compositions, and puts them directly into his two highly capable hands. The album presents Zappa’s music in a most intimate nature, a feat not easily accomplished by a full band. Hartl’s deft touch and use of dynamics offer a different and highly accessible point of view, well worth the attention of hardcore fans and neophytes alike.

A Little Big Band, A Little Big Band

This is an older record (2014), but one well worth seeking out. Produced by artist/Native bassist Preston Singletary, A Little Big Band is a remakable fusion of Northwest Native American foundation augmented with elements of R&B, funk, and hip-hop, which is not exactly something you find around the corner every day! This is NOT novelty music. It is soulful, driven, and wonderfully presented. This is a band built to play live, allowing the spirit of the music to flow through them, where it is channeled most elegantly. Singletary would team up with Parliament/Funkadelic keyboardist Bernie Worrell to form Khu.eex’, which also made remarkable music. But that is for another time.

Talinka, Rainbow Over Kolonaki

Landing somewhere between jazz, classical, and Broadway, Talinka offers a most interesting musical presentation steeped in taste and skill. The vocals of Tali Atzmon mesh beautifully with the reeds of Gilad Atzmon and the violin/viola of Jenny Bliss, while Yaron Stavi holds everything together with his tasteful bass playing. This is music built for Sunday brunch or a peaceful, reflective afternoon. Cast aside your troubles and chill …

Guarino-Savoldelli Quintet, Core ‘ngrato

Speaking of groovy and tasteful, it doesn’t get much more of either than this album, a lovely sample of Italian Jazz. The music is smoothly executed, but should NEVER be confused with “smooth jazz.” propelled by the Corrado Guarino’s piano and the vocals of Boris Savoldelli, this is music that very nearly requires a strict dress code to enjoy properly. Truly romantic, there is little to nothing blues-oriented to be found here, which is a good thing. Grab a glass of wine and enjoy.


MeVsMyself, Miticlán

There’s a fine line between “novel” and “gimmicky.” Fortunately, Giorgio Pinardi has remained on the correct side of the equation, making the Italian solo vocalist’s latest record a fascinating listen. The album’s title comes from the Aztec, representing the after-life. The album is a collection of melodies, harmonies, and rhythms that could represent such a context. The pieces are beautifully layered and distinctly textured, making each sound a rich aural tapestry worthy of deep exploration, for there is almost always something new to be discovered. This is not “party” or “background” music, but rather a true case of music worthy of deep study.


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  1. Some interesting things there but nothing that really grabs me.

    I couldn’t find that Little Big Band but I did come across this video entitled “Keef Hartley Little Big Band Essen 1970”. And that is rather nice.


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