For A Dog
first thing that came to my mind while listening to For A Dog? Well, I
have to admit it was something like "There's a lot of good music around,
that I know nothing about". And yes, I'm perfectly aware that it's
not a very profound, nor original, thought. However, it perfectly describes
my impression: that I was listening to something quite pleasant and well-done,
not terribly innovative or revolutionary, but that was able to transcend
- mainly thanks to natural-sounding, inventive, performing skills - the
limits of a language.
would never had known about the existence of this album, hadn't I found
it in my mailbox. The sense of assuredness coming from these "grooves" tells
of a long journey, as it was immediately proved by the press release coming
with the CD, and by my Web search; even more important was the fact that
the name of guitarist Corrie van Binsbergen - what I'd call the "prima
inter pares" of the quartet called Cram - immediately stroke a bell
for a friend of mine of highly selective musical taste I was talking to;
the fact that he appeared not to have a bad opinion of the guitarist's
past albums he was familiar with told me I was on the right track.
music of For A Dog could easily be filed under "jazz-rock" or
"fusion". I'm quite aware that this kind of description - though
truthful, even when taking into consideration the "internal variability" of
those "genres" - would have even me running, in the year 2008.
But here, with just a couple of exceptions - an
"Oriental"-sounding melody, a few soprano sax/guitar unisons that
today can only sound like clichés -, the whole sounds fresh. A big factor
being van Binsbergen's skillful performing arsenal, which sometimes reminded
me of both Jeff Beck and Frank Zappa.
recorded (by Chris Weeda), sporting a "natural" sound, the album
presents a quartet of musicians who sound quite comfortable with each other:
Rutger van Otterloo on saxophones, Arend Niks on drums (which are often
played using brushes), and Mick Paauwe on Babybass; on a few tracks we
also have Hein Offermans on double bass and Carlo de Wijs at the Hammond
organ (if the real deal, the vintage one, or a modern hardware version
of it, I couldn't tell: the rotating Leslie sounded real enough to me,
but the "percussion"
effect sounded a bit too regular, when compared to the one I remember; unfortunately,
my CD player had to go to the repairer's during the listening sessions of
For A Dog, and its temporary substitute is not really equipped to solve such
Day is the nice opening track: an "hypnotic" atmosphere, a bass/drums
ostinato, a slow theme for soprano sax/guitar, the latter with volume swells
and surprising, cascading harmonics; drums are played using brushes on
the snare, cymbals and toms; nice, brief guitar solos, with echoes and
has a unison of soprano sax/wha-wha guitar, with a joyous fusion theme,
and a vivacious soprano solo, the final result being not too far from vintage
Village is a bossa sporting a tenor sax, a nice theme, a good guitar solo
with echo, and a "hushed" sax.
Trein Naar Ulan Bator has an almost postcard-sounding "Oriental"
theme, vivacious brushes on the toms, and a good solo from the baritone sax.
For Penelope has an opening with volume swells from the guitar, plus an
Hammond, which is not too distant from some duos by Jeff Beck/Tony Hymas,
complete with "rubato", echoes, and drastic string bending. Nice
theme played by the soprano sax. The guitar solo reminded me quite a bit
of Frank Zappa, in the modes, scales, and honking wha-wha, with just a
pinch of Jeff Beck, and traces of The Deathless Horsie.
is a brief, joyous calypso, featuring baritone sax, brushes, and a spiky
guitar played slide, really beautiful.
Train is a vivacious bossa, with a nice soprano solo, and a close on the
has a guest musician playing the double bass. There's a "singable"
theme played on the baritone sax, then a very nice B section. Then, an excellent
guitar solo: again, the timbre here is quite à la Frank Zappa, but the solo
itself is much nearer to Jeff Beck and his "variations on a theme" strategy
(think: 'Cause We've Ended As Lovers).
has an agile fusion development, a soprano sax solo, the Hammond plus Leslie.
Stukje Structuur proved to be one of my favorite tracks: nice harsh/angular
theme played over a rhythmic ostinato, a nice guitar solo which almost
"backwards", a nice baritone sax, (just) for a moment Gentle Giant
came to my mind.
A Dog is really beautiful: Hammond organ, double bass, guitar, it has a
melodic development (almost like Sleep Dirt), with a nice organ close.
is well-behaved fusion, with a good soprano solo.
Lake Isle Of Innisfree is the beautiful last track of the CD, with the
guitar in a solo arpeggio mode.
© Beppe Colli 2008
CloudsandClocks.net | June 19, 2008