Saturday, September 20, 2014

Recording: Mellow Motel

Artist: Mellow Motel

Songs: Domino Biscuit [composer: Steve Swallow] + Vashkar [composer: Carla Bley]

Recorded at The Tranzac – Southern Cross Lounge ("Mike Smith August Residency, Week 3"), August 18, 2014.

Mellow Motel - Domino Biscuit

Mellow Motel - Vashkar

Full review to follow. It's forever a struggle to get crowds out for an early show, but I'm a big fan of the night's first timeslot down at The Tranzac. Start 'round 7:30, wrap up before ten, get home and in bed at a reasonable hour. So I was well-pleased to see that Mike Smith was taking over the early slot for four Mondays in August, each with different musical collaborators.

Allmusic calls Gary Burton & Steve Swallow's 1975 ECM album Hotel Hello "thoughtful background music with no real surprises or excitement"; Mike Smith calls it a classic. Putting that admiration into action, he strapped on his bass and drafted Michael Davidson (vibes) and Matt Newton (keybs) for a "mostly accurate recreation" of the album, snoozy in tone, but never suffocating with its figure-this-out-on-the-fly arrangements. There were some other selections delivered in a similar style as well, including a gorgeous rendition of John Cale's "Child's Christmas in Wales".

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