Since 1997, Origin Records has stood steadfast as a bulwark for West Coast jazz and classical musicians, and mallet-meister Tom Colier splendidly fills both categories. As chair of percussion studies at Seattle's University of Washington, he's performed with major symphonies as well as Earl "Fatha" Hines, Frank Zappa, Peggy Lee and Cal Tjader. (He lately recorded mallet transcriptions of two-piano Mozart and Haydn pieces for Origin's classical division." Here Collier brightly reflects on a well-spent West Seattle childhood, joined by master guitarists Bill Frisell and Larry Coryell (themselves with Seattle roots), who alternate or double with the tart electric plectra of Dan Dean, Collier's musical partner for the past 40 years.
We hear no shortage of notes, ringing arpeggios or positive vibrations in this relaxed and funky set. Of special swagger is the stretch "Beach Drive," which features some stop-time turnoffs for drummer Ted Poor. "Gold 'N' Blues" lopes along with Coryell's bright guitar splashes, and Frisell lashes out on "47th 'N' Hudson." Throughout, Collier tap-dances lightly between woody solos and crisp, whispery comping. The final title track sprinkles Asian spice on a bluesy line, and we're home after a scenic ride.