CD REVIEW: Pedrick, Bitts, Walker - Three
by: Cyrus Rhodes
"Lightning in a Bottle"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST-
Artist: Pedrick, Bitts, Walker
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Jazz, Acoustic Jazz, Guitar Jazz
Sounds Like: Pat Metheny, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass
Technical Grade: 9/10
Weakness: Missed Marketing Opportunities (Song Titles, Visual Presentation)
Guitarist David Pedrick has earned accolades from critics and audiences alike for his work in a wide variety of styles. His performance credits run the gamut from jazz clubs to concert halls and he has been invited to perform for guitar societies, concert series, musical theater productions and music festivals throughout the U.S. Recent highlights include performances at The Strand-Capitol Arts Center, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Fulton Opera House, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Philadelphia Fringe Festival and the Wilmington Grand Opera House. As a recording artist, David's three albums with guitarist Jeremy Hutson have received international acclaim and have been featured on more than 200 radio programs in the U.S., including All Songs Considered, Celtic Connections, Celtic Heartbeat, Classical 24, Crossover, Desert Island Discs, The Green Island, and The Intimate Guitar. His latest release entitled Three is a result of an experiment to create a live unrehearsed single work of collective improvisation that remains accessible on multiple levels for any listener.
This review applies to the Jazz Standard. The CD kicks things off with “One” a progressive acoustical piece that serves up impressive acoustic guitar solos and melodies painted against the conservative yet earthy 3 piece musical backdrop of drums and stand up bass. The CD makes a great first impression and literally grabs our attention without trying to hard to win you over via it’s close and personal live setting. Track 2 “Two” keeps things moving in the same direction with more full tilt guitar chops, dynamic rhythm, and impressive peak and valley musical landscape. Track 3 “Three” serves up well placed walking bass lines, against impressive rhythm section that push the natural accent perfectly with more mesmerizing acoustic guitar from Pedrick. The CD makes a great first impression, providing 3 solid musical experiences in a row. As the CD slowly unfolds you will notice most of the songs are very conservative yet complex in nature, with crystal clear sound quality and a sold live feel to it. Musical comparables for me include: Pat Metheny, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass just to name a few. I would classify this music as acoustical jazz that is delivered in classic jam band fashion. The music itself goes down smooth and fills the sonic space with what I would describe as peaceful tranquility with all the excitement of a live Jazz performance. The musicianship though extremely complex and dynamic provides a lot of earthy variety. Make no bones about it - this band is rock solid per the Jazz Standard. All in all the CD has some truly impressive moments, showcasing impressive chops, solid low end grooves and rhythms, solos and chord progression that are expensive, exotic and hot to the touch. I was entertained the entire time. That’s not easy to pull off as a 3 piece – so it’s quite impressive that these cats can hold you attention span quite well for over 45+ minutes. Drummer Aaron Walker pushes the natural accents well and does a fine job at matching the flow and ebb of the music with not only his rhythms but with his dynamic drum fills as well. Bassist Mike Bitts lays down the bottom end groove with several impressive bass solos to boot. Finally Dave Pedick’s playing just makes the whole thing work as he provides the perfect balance between melody, sizzling chops and a strong musical variety.
I’m not crazy about the song titles themselves. Ironically they lack creativity, zest and personality – unlike the music. I’ll do some research but perhaps this is the normal protocol for Improvised performances. Some of this carries over to the visual presentation of the CD. The cover art and foldout panels provide nothing about the project in general. Much of this is a missed marketing opportunity for Pedrick. Also missing are detailed liner notes pertaining to the project with no song titles listed on the flipside of the CD. This approach is a bit unorthodox and is certainly not typical of Industry Standard CD releases.
After spending 45+ minutes with Dave Pedrick and company it's hard to find any solid weaknesses worth mentioning. Instead as the CD progressed I became more and more impressed with the production as a whole. Make no bones about it, these cats can play. What I like most about the CD is its live feel to it and impressive peak and valley balance. Most people will agree live performances pack a powerful punch – this CD captures Lightning in a Bottle. Three is an impressive musical production from start to finish. There’s not really a weak song on this entire catalogue period! The musicianship is first rate, the songs are short and sweet musical experiences. Each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Lastly - the playing, writing, and singing abilities of David Pedrick are both amazing and will keep you fully entertained for the entire ride.