Herbie Kritzer — The Tree Lizard
((Not on label) no#, 2002, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2005-09-01Californian 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!
Related artist(s): Herbie Kritzer
Roswell Rudd RIP – Jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd, one of the distinctive players of his instrument in many strains of music, has died at the age of 82. With a career stretching back to the early 60s and over a hundred recordings featuring his playing, he leaves behind a substantial legacy. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2013. » Read more
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more