Exposé Online banner

Herbie Kritzer — The Tree Lizard
((Not on label) no#, 2002, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2005-09-01

The Tree Lizard Cover artCalifornian Herbie Kritzer is clearly someone who enjoys having fun with music. Even his name sounds a bit cartoon-ish, and there’s certainly a streak of sly wit and boy-ish playfulness to many of these eight jazz instrumentals. Kritzer’s main instrument is the piano, through he proves himself equally adept on drums and vibes. What’s even more impressive is how seamlessly the parts are melded together on the album: I could swear I was listening to a small combo playing, not just one guy. Known also as a Stick player (though he was also once drummer of an outfit called Tokyo Sex Whale!), Kritzer’s piano playing is impressive, demonstrating a light yet nimble touch and impressive fluidity when it comes to harmonic extensions. Some pieces even develop a harmonic depth that recalls Erik Satie, best seen in “No Friends.” Elsewhere he imbues the compositions with a springy rhythmic bounce (“Tree Lizard,” “Corn Ball”) or a sly, feline saunter (“Vashon Scratch,” “Tree Lizard Betrayed”) that even hint at Dave Brubeck’s creativity with melodic figures. Dashes of blues make their way into the pieces as well, so as you can imagine the album is really a varied experience, though all well within what one would expect from a small pocket jazz trio. I’d encourage the jazzers out there to track this one down, even though it’s very much an independent effort and probably hard to find. My only complaint with the album is its length, a mere 28 plus minutes. Gimme more, Herbie!

Filed under: New releases, Issue 32, 2002 releases

Related artist(s): Herbie Kritzer

Latest news

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Mindgames - International Daylight – Mindgames is yet another new neo-prog band from the Low Countries, Belgium in this case. This is their first full album, following a 1999 demo release (a new release is supposedly on the way). The...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues