Tuesday, September 29, 2015

USA: Freddy Sklenar's Equinox Jazz Group-Blue Turtle (2015)

Freddy Sklenar's Equinox Jazz Group | Blue Turtle
When Freddy Sklenar asked me to write the liner notes for this album, I agreed without hesitation. But where it was very easy to listen to Freddy's first album, it turns out that writing lining notes is not so easy - to put one's enjoyment of art into words is far more difficult than to simply enjoy the art!
Even so, here goes: As I listened to Blue Turtle, I felt as though I was on a cross-country train trip, sipping a glass of wine and watching the world go by. There are a few standards thrown in to complete the atmosphere, but this album mostly features the clever and emotional songwriting of Freddy Sklenar. The songs are a fresh take on an old tradition. With the beautiful, tuneful Song For Annie (which Freddy wrote for his beautiful bride) and the haunting, somber Wisconsin Winter, Freddy and his group created a diverse tapestry of sounds and textures that took me on a singular journey through stark cold emptiness and spring flowers.
The personality of each musician shines big on this album. Paul Brandt's playful and innovative exposition on Happiness Break is a perfect compliment to Freddy's soulful tenor playing on Johnny Green's Body & Soul. Todd Bartlett's gut-busting solo on the title track, Blue Turtle Blues, is just dirty enough to make you long for a shot of Kentucky Bourbon, and Karl Anderson and Dave Barneson are a swinging' team that create a solid underpinning for the whole recording.
This is beautiful, joyful music, full of all the bits and pieces that define art as it responds to life! Enjoy the ride!
Sue Orfield, writer, composer, musician, saxophonist, Eau Claire, Seattle, New York, Europe