Title - 'Crickets'
Artist - Phil Madeira
For those not in the know, Phil Madeira is a Nashville-based musician, artist, songwriter and producer.
Phil has been a behind-the-scenes shaker and mover as a band member (Emmylou Harris; Red Dirt Boys, Buddy Miller, The Phil Keaggy Band) and session musician/songwriter (Alison Krauss, Mat Kearney, Old Crow Medicine Show, Buddy Miller, Garth Brooks, Toby Keith, Keb' Mo', Amy Grant, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Civil Wars, Julie Miller, The Band Perry, Mavis Staples, and many more) for many years now.
Indeed, Madeira has recorded seven solo albums (inclusive of this brand new one being reviewed today) and has received the Nashville Music Award (Nammy) for Best Keyboardist in 2000.
Phil’s first instrumental record, the aforementioned seventh solo album of his career, Crickets is out now (April 26, 2019 via Mercyland Records) and goes down the jazz path; without getting over anyone’s head.
Hearkening back to '50s and '60s piano based jazz, the record features: Aaron Smith - drums; Chris Donohue - bass; James Hollihan - guitar; Rahsaan Barber - sax; Roland Barber - brass, and Phil on piano.
1. 'Sirkka's Dream'
2. 'Cut It Out'
4. 'Teamwork Salad'
5. 'Rollin' With Oti'
6. 'Last Call At Bovi's'
8. 'In Walked Willis'
9. 'Jazz Hands'
10. 'Coming Home'
After having admitted that after his return to piano on his last album (Providence) that he had decided to record an instrumental record, this quite spectacular new album (called Crickets as in "not a word") begins with the quietly free flowing 'Sirkka's Dream' and backs that up with the more breezy tones of 'Cut It Out' and then comes the polished, dedicated tones of the title track 'Cricket.'
Up next is the finger-snappin' jam 'Teamwork Salad' which is followed by both the more structured 'Rollin' With Oti' and the quieter, late night jazz club appeal of 'Last Call At Bovi's.
The upright swing of the aptly entitled 'Swingset' is one of my own personal favorites here and is showcases Phil's nibble piano work splendidly.
The melodic groove of 'In Walked Willie' is next, with the fun jive approach to 'Jazz hands' and then the instrumental prowess of 'Coming Home' rounding the album out majestically.
"To be honest, I didn't mean to make an instrumental record, never mind a jazz album," Phil has since said. "I just had the itch to record with some friends."
"I'm not a trained musician, but whenever I sit down to play the piano, something like jazz happens. When I played some of this music for a few intimate friends, the response was unanimous - "This music needs to be heard"."
Phil Madeira @ Facebook
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