It appears L.A.-based pianist/composer James Carney is out to "become" the Horace Silver for the '90s--that's to say, a proud purveyor of easygoing yet imaginative mainstream jazz. He wrote all the tunes here, and Silver would be proud, I think, to add these to his book of tunes. Especially the gorgeous, gospel-inspired (with a New Orleans tinge) "Last Call at the West Lake Inn." And if you think of Nels Cline only as a "noisy" guitar player (which I'd say is a compliment, but that's just me), just listen to his restrained, sensuously bluesy tone here. The introspective ballad "Lexicon" conjures the early '60s Bill Evans Trio with Scott Lafaro, and the subtly Irish-folk-flavored "Tipperary Hill" has some rich ensemble playing from the horns. Carney's piano is gentle and rhapsodic without ever succumbing to blandness. This album has its share of swingers, too: the witty, mercurial "Swamp Rookie." A dandy set.
Artist / Group Name:James Carney
CD Title:Offset Rhapsody
Record Label:Jacaranda Records
Musicians:James Carney (piano), Ralph Alessi (trumpet, flugelhorn), Peter Epstein (sax), Scoft Mayo (sax), Chuck Manning (sax), Bob Sheppard (clarinets), Dan Morris (percussion), David Shaffer (percussion), Alex Cline (percussion), Nels Cline (guitar), Darak "Oles" Oleszkiewicz (bass)