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Anderson, Chute, Easley (A.C.E.) — Adventures of the Moss Bear
(Bandcamp no#, 2022, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-05-15

Adventures of the Moss Bear Cover art

New Orleans pedal steel guitarist and composer Dave Easley is busy with many different bands and projects, from his 2020 solo release Easley Rider, as well as the all instrumental endeavor Byways of the Moon (2022). He also plays with the jazz-rock quartet Kolotov Mocktails, the Musaica Chamber Ensemble and others. Bassist Dave Anderson plays in many of Easley’s projects, and Easley plays on many of Anderson’s including his chamber music nonet. The last piece of the trio at hand is drummer Tom Chute, conveniently naming the group Anderson, Chute, Easley, or A,C.E. for short. Their sound could be considered to be psychedelic jazz occasionally informed by chamber ideas, and Interestingly, five of the six cuts on Adventures of the Moss Bear are pure improvisations, composed and realized as they played them, including the amazing sidelong title track. The only composed piece here is the Easley-penned “Slender Forest,” a more conventional song-oriented piece with vocals (presumably by Easley), the weeping steel guitar and lamenting tone of the vocals make it like no other track in the set. The jazzy opener “Camelia Dreams” pretty much sets the tone for most of the numbers that follow, the acoustic bass and Chute’s drumming lay the groundwork for Easley’s wandering steel leads with reverb that work their way through the near eight minute duration. More upbeat with Chute’s brisk tempo guiding the way, the twelve-plus minute “Pop Medley from Outer Space” is a fun romp through an array of different ideas that keep the listener guessing what might come next. What really comes next is “Ozzy,” a piece that — after a slow and measured intro — blows up into a crazy avant-garde mix of free-jazz Ideas. If one has ever wondered how suitable pedal steel ifits into the jazz trio idiom, Adventures of the Moss Bear provides an answer.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Anderson, Chute, Easley

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