March 1997

Tom Teasley
Time Travel
T&T

Drummer Teasley opens his new recording with a solo drum piece entitled "Fro Max," and eases into the brisk space of "Seven Steps to Heaven." From there, the musical palette spreads out-a little thinly at times-as he leans towards synthetic textures and non-swing feels. Teasley plays both actual vibes and the MIDI mallet instrument, the KAT, making for a good argument for the general shift away from electronics in jazz. There are some good electro-acoustic moments here, as on the title track, tasteful drum statements laid atop a sequenced rhythm pattern. Still, though, the best stuff is in the acoustic, real-time jazz tradition, with a trio featuring the nimble guitarist Rick Whitehead and bassist James King. Teasley overdubs the pseudo-bass and piano parts on the quirky minor blues of "Nothing Personal," by the late, underrated Don Grolnick-the real, interactive pulse of the trio is missed. Needless to say, appreciation of the album may depend on the listener's current attitude towards electronic paradigms.

Originally published in March 1997
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