John Stowell & Dan Dean

Rain Painting



iTunes - $9.90

MUSIC REVIEW BY Chris Lunn, Ancient Victorys


Both artists were in duos at our jazz sessions during the late 70s at The Other Side of the Tracks in Auburn. Stowell came up from Portland with David Friesen; Dean did his duo work with vibes player Tom Collier. They were both amazing musicians then and have continued to explore music with a keen inventive sense. This collection is all original tunes by Stowell that he left with Dean to develop some layered vocal. The project developed over the year, and added to Stowell's acoustic, electric, and fretless electric guitars were Dean's vocals, various bass parts, percussion, and some drum programming. Dean had done a classical recording for Origin with layered vocals which attracted Stowell to the concept.

"Welcome to Nice" has a walking movement with vocal opening then releasing to warm, melodic, and harmonically mischievous Stowell guitar. Bass and percussion are layered in. All instruments and vocals are just these two players and layered over a one-year period. Love the blues stroll of "Nanti Glo" with Dean's bluesy vocal slow and fun. No rush by Stowell, and maybe as bluesy a sound I have ever heard him develop in a solo. Solid rhythm by the drums and bass of Dean keeps this swinging while they explore. Vocal sounds include not only scat but multi-layered harmonies by Dean. (Is it time to put words to this blues?) "Rain Painting" guitar and vocals trick your mind as if they are ending a song again and again. Love the concept, the holds, the wavering sounds. Again, there is a bluesy feel with a modern touch that later dances slightly with scat and guitar poking fun. The tight swing between the two builds and is a masterful collaboration. "Pretty Boy Floyd" features a series of slow pop lines with the guitar. Dean works both vocals and bass. A harmonic Stowell guitar hints at a movement then dances in , swinging and warmly exploring. The Dean scat is both fun and a rapid exploration of his upper vocal area. "Alora Andiamo!" pokes at sounds and short lines with the guitar and bass helping before releasing to a complex and Latin rhythm by Stowell. Amazing precise work. "Springfield Sonata" shows new-age coloration while pushing the vocals and ringing guitar. Love the blues stroll on "Tapioca Time" with the vocal lead-in and Stowell's open bluesy study. Dean catches the low end of Stowell's guitar with superb bass. This tune makes me want to dance and swirl. "Always Sometimes" is a quiet and warm ballad with Stowell introducing Dean's vocal serenely, then releasing to a walking Stowell guitar exploration. Accessible warmth. "Schiffletting" with its slow, holding vocal lines with guitar underscoring the melody works. Stowell solos warmly, dancing within a phrase and using his guitar as a talking vocal instrument also. They close with "Mandy Walk" with darting extensions of both vocals and guitar. The guitar solo a third of the way through is melancholy, bluish, and works with he percussion of Dean. The unusual harmony of this tune reflects the expertise of Stowell's improvisation. This is an unusual project that explores what voice, melody, and layered instrumentation can do for the creative composition of Stowell.





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