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Music

Fall 2010

Live & Kickin’

wanderers

The Wanderers
Live & Kickin’, 2010

Bill Murlin ‘63 and Carl Allen ’60 created The Wanderers soon after they met in September, 1959, on the cusp of the Great Folk Scare of the 1960s. With Al Hansen on bass, the singer-guitarists performed regularly around Pullman for three years. Murlin and Allen continued after graduation with warm, unadorned harmonies and an unflinching folk repertoire of tunes by the Kingston Trio, Bill Staines, Pete Seeger, and … » More …

Fall 2010

Jump Into Life

eclectic

Eclectic Approach
Jump into Life, 2008

Eclectic Approach, a funk-rock Seattle band that includes Jowed Hadeed ’06, Ryan Jander ‘06 and Tony Poston ’07, released its third studio album, “Jump Into Life,” in June.

Feel-good messages dominate the album. One track, “Change,” encourages love over drama, while another track pushes focusing on the ups rather than the downs, smiles over frowns. Eclectic Approach works hard but plays harder. Themes of living life more fully and … » More …

Spring 2010

Libera

libera

Libera, Marco Bittelli ’98 MS, ’01 PhD
Pacific Coast Jazz, 2009

Some things you expect to find on the Palouse: tractors, football fans, a smattering of laboratories probing the molecular basis of life and the reaches of space. The rural alchemy of agriculture and academia would seem less likely to nurture the great urban art form of jazz, but somehow it does. Several nights a week, you can wander into a club like Rico’s and … » More …

Winter 2009

Mountains On Our Backs

carcrashlander-cover

Mountains On Our Backs
Carcrashlander (Cory Gray, Brian Wright ’02, Alexis Gideon, Cliff Hayes, and Jessica Wright ’02)
Jealous Butcher Records, 2008

Nestled in the generally indescribable genre of indie music, Carcrashlander challenges the listener by continuing to venture into experimental music. In their most recent album, Mountains On Our Backs, the group combines basal vocals and keyboards with wildly discordant guitar riffs and deep percussion.

The band began as a project by vocalist … » More …

Spring 2009

One More Mile

What caught my attention from the first time I heard album was the silky-smooth blending of tonality this jazz quartet presents. The interplay between instruments (soprano sax, piano, bass, and drums) is balanced in such a way that one initially forgets there are four individual voices, and yet, upon further analysis, the skillfulness of each performer becomes apparent.

The opening tune, Sweet and Lovely, hints at modal journeys, while other selections such as Birks Works have what might be described as smoky and sultry tones. The more up-tempo Punt, and to a lesser degree E.J., contain more driven tempos with a nice bounce that allow … » More …

Winter 2008

When the Circus Leaves Town

Seattle-raised Brooke Ludwick spent time as a creative director and artist in the advertising field before recently returning to her first love, songwriting and performing. With her talents and understanding of the music business, she has created some well-crafted, thoughtful, and very listenable tunes (she shares composing credits with several other songwriters).

This album fits snugly into the genre of the contemporary country sound, blending familiar lyrical motifs with the Nashville/soft rock mix that currently predominates in this market (the iTunes store placed Ludwick in the company of Carrie Underwood, Emmylou Harris, Taylor Swift, and Jewel).

There are some very nice grooves to be had … » More …

Winter 2002

Sonata Concertante for Cello and Piano and other works

In the course of his 26 years at Washington State University, Lothar Kreck, who retired in 1997, served as director of Hotel and Restaurant Administration (1971-79) and was the program’s first Ivar B. Haglund Distinguished Professor. He also pursued an avocation as a composer and performer, playing viola in orchestras in the U.S. and Europe. Sonata Concertante for Cello and Piano and other works presents seven of his compositions.

Although he began writing music in 1953, the earliest piece on this CD dates from 1985. The disc includes performances by WSU piano faculty Susan Chan, organist and pianist David Hatt, and the Maui … » More …

Winter 2002

Sojourner

Style, phrasing, and rhythmic acuity are hallmarks of a great jazz singer. Julie Silvera displays all of these and more on her debut CD, Sojourner. A graduate of Washington State University with an M.A. in music, Julie cut her “jazz teeth” singing in Pullman with the Charlie Argersinger trio at Rico’s Smokehouse.

How refreshing to hear a singer dig into the literature of the American Songbook and pick out rarely recorded jewels! Sojourner boasts three such gems: “Sweet Georgie Fame,” “Lost and Lookin’,” and “All Alone.”

On Sojourner, Julie covers the gamut of emotional expression, flashing the extremes of her range and dynamics … » More …

Fall 2002

East West Encounter

From the first quietly unsettling notes of Susan Chan’s East West Encounter, it’s clear that this is no ordinary piano CD. A delicate initial passage suddenly explodes into a dramatic and resonant section of lower keys; two contemporary pieces rooted in Chinese literature are an intriguing lead-in to Beethoven’s Sonata in E minor, op. 90 and Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No. 1. That the structure and sound of music can operate as a sort of narrative language is quite evident here. These are selections that evoke the implacability of landscape, the sweet sharp pain of spiritual longing, and the heady delirium of early love.

Chan … » More …

Winter 2006

Handmade

It’s no accident that the cover art for Paul Ely Smith’s compact disc, Handmade, features a detail from an oriental rug. Paul, an instructor in the General Education Program at Washington State University, has been a collector of tribal woven pieces—carpets, bag faces, kilims, etc.—from places like Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey for many years. And, of course, they’re all handmade—just like the fretless gourd banjo, also pictured on the cover, which Paul himself built, and which he plays on the CD’s opening track. Paul plays all the other instruments heard on Handmade, including the guitar he built in 2000, his great-grandfather’s 1893 Fairbanks “Electric” banjo … » More …