Monika Herzig Acoustic Project (CD, 53:22) 2000, ACME 001MA-4010-2 ACME Records 3375 E Old Myers Rd Bloomington, IN 47408 CYBERHOME: http://www.acmerecords.com/acousticproject.html The clinking of champagne glasses, the din of conversation, a gathering of friends and family - these are the kinds of visions that the Monika Herzig Acoustic Project's self-titled album will bring. This releases mixes Herzig's interpretations of a few jazz classics with some of her own home-grown compositions resulting in a pleasant CD that serves well as both interesting jazz and as soothing background music. Right out of the gate, Herzig dives into some classic three-piece jazz with "Effendi," a track where the rhythm section of John Huber and Steve Davis lays down a tasty riff for Monika to pepper with her attractive piano work. There's plenty of sustain on the ivories on this track, causing the piano's notes to smoothly drift into one another for nice effect. As a matter of fact, the piano playing throughout the CD is very tasteful - on "It's You or No One" Herzig really lets loose with a sweet solo toward the end of the track, and her interpretation of Leonard Bernstein's "Some Other Time" is absolutely beautiful. Herzig's gets a little help on some of the tracks from husband Peter Kienle, who offers up some great guitar work on "It's You or No One" and Cole Porter's "So in Love". Kienle's playing is as smooth as silk, adding to the overall "mellow-ness" that hovers over the entire CD. The only spots on the CD that didn't quite sound right to me were the passages played by violinist Sara Caswell. It's not that Caswell isn't a talent violinist - actually, her playing was very appealing on its own. The problem is that the violin seems a bit out of place where it's featured, and doesn't add much to the tracks themselves. One thing is for certain - a few listens to this CD and all your troubles will float out of your body as you sit back and soak in the cleansing tones of Monika Herzig and her band. If you're in the mood for some ground-breaking and adventurous jazz, Monika Herzig's Acoustic Project might not satisfy. But, if you just want to mellow out after a stressful day, than look no further. More information the Monika Herzig Acoustic Project can be found at http://www.acmerecords.com/acousticproject.html. - Michael Askounes (firstname.lastname@example.org) PERSONNEL: Monika Herzig: Piano John Huber: Bass Steve Davis: Drums Peter Kienle: Guitar Chuck Carter: Clarinet Sara Caswell: Violin TRACKLIST: 1. Effendi (4:34) 2. It's You or No One (5:18) 3. Michael (3:57) 4. One for the Box (5:24) 5. And I Love Her (4:37) 6. Could it Be Bop? (5:38) 7. You Stepped Out of a Dream (6:16) 8. Mr. P.K. (6:28) 9. So In Love (5:27) 10. Some Other Time (5:38)
Beeble Brox: Dominant Domain (CD, 69:47); Acme BB07-3307-2, 1998 Contact: Acme Records 3375 E Old Myers Rd Bloomington, IN 47408, USA Phone: (812) 334-3022 Fax: (812) 334-3051 E-mail: email@example.com Cyberhome: www.acmerecords.com Fans of John Scofield, Pat Metheny, and Mike Stern are going to find a good deal material to boogie their fusion brains herein. Peter Kienle on guitars, Godin Multiac guitar, and Roland guitar synth is a strong, inventive player. Monika Herzig keeps things full-sounding, be-boppin', and soulful on grand piano and keyboards. There's much to be swooned and thrilled going on here. "Quiet Earth" opens things in a laid-back, meandering groove that go easily fit on any Mike Stern release. Guesting is the well-known, Miles Davis alumni, Bob Berg, on tenor sax. I own several of Berg's solo releases and many other discs bearing the Berg trademark sound. He offers the same gold once again here and other tracks. Herzig, on grand piano, and Berg trade delightfully rich passages on "The Third Passenger", a dreamy, rainy day, jazz-standardy piece. Ah, what a romance of sound. Tom Clark, saxes and flute, brings that Bill Evans style to mind on a Chick Corea-like/ Mark Egan and Elements sounding track called "Tell Me Your Stories". Herzig lends an astral or ethereal mood on superb keys and effects. I enjoyed the raucous sax-guitar interplay and side-by- side, note-for-note runs on "Homer Simpson". Kienle excelled on his funky chicken, rhythmic, and overdriven chops. He's no wimp on the riffin'. Also guesting are Ron Brinson on drums and Jeff Nearpass on percussion and marimba. Beeble Broxian Paul Surowiak is always steady and flowing on drums throughout. Jack Helsley provides faultless and inspired acoustic and electric bass. On "Now What?", in a Latin American way, Clark, Kienle, and Herzig have plenty of time to stretch for 9:08. Here is where Herzig lays it out without question -- the lady can get down and play! Helsley does great bass work on this one. Probably, the most enthralling, take-your-mind- faraway, signature piece was "A German in New York". Weighing in at 9:06, Herzig has room to shine again on keys. It is a very classy piece with marimba, acoustic guitar, flute, and a myriad of percussives. This song and "The Third Passenger" clearly establish Herzig as a fine composer. "Half Past Forever" was my favorite piece for fusiony guitar work. Kienle should cut a CD's worth of material like this song he wrote. "Raw Material", from the Kienle jammin' out archives peels some paint and kicks up asphalt with guitar punch. Herzig synth atmospherics and Adam Holzman-ish fills add just the right touch. Clark is awesome on his siren sax with its otherwordly wailing. Surowiak and Clark laid a phat-big groove down. Everybody was free-blowin jazz fusion hot and cool to close out a truly fine CD. High recommendations for innovative jazz lovers! ~ John W. Patterson
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