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July/August 2002

Michael Moore
Jewels and Binoculars: The Music of Bob Dylan
Ramboy

Reedist Michael Moore, a California expat who's lived in Amsterdam since the mid-'80s, has been one of ICP Orchestra's most flexible participants. He displays another facet of his creative range in a trio recording called Jewels and Binoculars: The Music of Bob Dylan (Ramboy). Along with bassist Lindsey Horner and drummer Michael Vatcher, Moore interprets eleven songs either written by or associated with Bob Dylan. Dylan, of course, is not exactly known for indelible melodies; he's a master lyric writer, a syncretist and powerful interpreter of the most basic song forms, so Moore has challenged himself to take on such material instrumentally. In the liner notes Moore writes that the trio kept Dylan's imagery in mind as they improvised. I'm not sure how they did so, but they've certainly pulled the project off. With a lovely sense of calm and loads of space they trace the simple yet elegant melodies of tunes like "Visions of Johanna," "Fourth Time Around" and "With God on Our Side" with a delicate grace, wringing unexpected melodic richness and soft blushes of the blues from limited forms. It's a beautiful recording that offers a delightfully fresh perspective into Dylan's brilliance.

Originally published in July/August 2002
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