Ben Thomas

Triskaidekaphobia

origin 82448

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MUSIC REVIEW BY George Fendel, Jazz Scene, November 2005

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Right off the bad, let's get to this rather unwieldy title. According to the album notes, the group recorded an untitled tune in 13/4 time. Acknowledging the challenge of such a meter, one of the players stated "all the more reason to fear the number 13." And that, apparently, is what this 17 letter word means: fear of the number 13. Okay with me, although I couldn't find it in my dictionary. Anyway, it's nice to see a younger generation musician specializing in the vibes. Thomas varies the number of participants on this all originals program, performing his tunes in quartet, quintet and sextet settings. Clarinetist Eric Likkel plays on most cuts, and the sound of vibes and clarinet is one we don't often hear, and one which works very well. The tunes cover the gamut of styles and tempos, and some of the titles just beg for explanation. The following ones, for example, focus on animals: Things Happen To Bears, Where Did Those Chickens Come From and The Hat Of The Bearded Lizard. I'd love to hear what Thomas might do on a couple of standard bop tunes or ballads, but that will have to wait until his next CD. This time around, there's some energetic things happening. And not to bears. ***






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