Drawing from his formal training as a trumpeter/composer as well as his travel experiences throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America, Seattle-based musician Daniel Barry has produced Walk All Ways, an expressive blend of multicultural influences that permeates fixed genre and categorization. With the help of a first-rate ensemble, Barry cleverly combines authentic Latin-American rhythms with Classical traditions and jazz-influenced improvisation.
Barry's strength as a composer lies in his ability to develop simple motifs into intricately arranged musical stories. ?Mighty Urubamba? and ?Prayer? unfold in unpredictable ways, yet maintain textural warmth. His intuitive orchestration skills are exhibited in the dark-toned richness of the title track and ?Junebug,? making the unconventional teaming of trumpet, woodwinds, violin, cello and accordion seem quite natural.
The sympathetic ensemble explores angular melodies, both composed and improvised, over accessible South American rhythms on pieces like ?Nini's Dream? and ?Somewhere Far Away,? recalling the work of 20th-century French composer Darius Milhaud.
Accordionist Steve Rice exhibits a kind of improvisational risk-taking not usually associated with his instrument. His uninhibited, engaging solo on ?Fuga Bembe? is both lyrical and ethereal. Other bright spots from the session include multi-instrumental woodwinds player James DeJoie, who soars on the Caribbean-influenced ?Pharoah's Gathering,? and big-toned bassist Chris Symer, who solos with vigor on ?Still Life.?
Walk All Ways, at once romantic and satirical, is a successful encapsulation of Barry's vision of the modern musical world. The sounds are fresh, imaginative and worthy of repeated listening.