An Overlooked Gem
E. C Goodstein | Northern CA United States | 09/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"REMEMBERED WAYS might just be the most sophisticated Trapezoid
album-- & I very much like COOL OF THE DAY & NOW & THEN. This time guitarist Paul Reisler teams up with vocalist Martha Sandefer & a group of virtuoso musicians to create a kind of
'seasons' song cycle-- an hommage to rural life, drawn from
his Appalachian home, but incorporating other sounds too. MS has
a very trained voice, but is very expressive, a bit like Eva Cassidy. Reisler's arrangements are ingenious. Not as 'bluegrass' based as their earlier work, but even more valid in some ways. If you like Nickel Creek, Pentangle, Eva Cassidy, or even Mark O'Connor's "classical crossover" works or Robin Holcomb's 'art song' approach, I highly recommend this one."
Folk-jazz fusion: creative and often sublime!
Brianna Neal | USA | 01/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A collection of compositions by Paul Reisler, written to celebrate life in rural America and "that timeless sense of life lived close to the land". Reisler's vision is beautiful and unique, and his jazzy music is actually quite progressive, though it retains a mellow, wistful, down-to-earth quality that does justice to its folk roots. The featured performers on "Remembered Ways" are Reisler on hammered dulcimer and guitars, female vocalists Martha Sandefer and Ysaye Barnwell, Bob Read on sax, violinist Cecil Hooker, and Howard Levy on harmonica. The swirling, multi-voiced tapestries of sound they weave on many of the numbers are simply exquisite--composed yet improvisatory, not traditional folk, not quite jazz, but 100-percent-Reisler at his imaginative best. The initial track, "This Road", is not really representative of the rest, though listeners accustomed to traditional country fare may find it a comfortable bridge to the more distinctive selections that follow. Standouts include the intense, soaring instrumental, "Hawk", with its fascinating blend of hammered dulcimer, soprano sax and violin supported by bass and hand percussion, and the emotionally-powerful "Remembered Ways", a vocal duet about parents trying to go on with their lives after the loss of their son. Also striking in structure and sound are "Sweetness Alone" and "Old Wood", two more vocal duets with the whole ensemble layered intricately around the singers' voices to stunning effect. "Remembered Ways" is a great album to listen to on a cold, blustery day, by the comfort of a fireside and with a hot, spiced cider in hand. For more great music from Trapezoid with a similar flavor, try searching for new or used copies of "Moon Run", another wonderfully evocative and intriguing release (on the Narada label) that, unfortunately, is hard to find these days. Try also the sonorous and intimate work of the folksy Celtic group Solas in such releases as "The Hour Before Dawn" and "The Edge of Silence"."