Reid, Curtis - Omniumgatherum

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Gateway Records
Catalog Number: GRCD 0102
Format: CD
Total Time: 37:33:00

Curtis Reid sent this to me for review five months ago, and like a few other CDs I've reviewed this month, it is one I regret didn't get played right away. Though I had read Clayton's review of this very same CD, that was five months ago as well, or just about. So, as I put this disk into my player for the first time, I was expecting guitar-based jazz-fusion. Well, there's a bit of that and a bit of some other stuff -- as one might expect given the album is called Omniumgatherum. The definition handily provided in the tray insert tells us that the word, derived from Latin and English means "a miscellaneous collection (as of things or persons) or of musical ideas in this case.

After some beautiful vocalizations from Aimee Davis, we get the sci-fi opening of "Reciprocity" that sounds like it's the soundtrack to the classic film War Of The Worlds... And it cuts off so suddenly after an acidic buzz, it's like it could be the very last second of It's Mad, Mad, Mad World (you know, that moment when Slim Pickens hits the ground). In this same vein, though much more spacey and floaty is "Somewhere Between Theory And Forgiveness" which is a bit like Tangerine Dream, Steve Roach, and Djam Karet (shades of the beginning part of "Lights Over Roswell"). Davis' haunting vocalizations reappears as well... lilting and rich, they come from somewhere deep and are set free. No words, but they aren't needed. Hers is the siren's song... It's Reid on the synths employed here. As it evolves, it takes on a classical overtones, all with the resonate tones of a synth.

The remaining tracks are of the jazz, jazz-rock, jazz-fusion variety...and one blues-rock piece. The easy rock of "Application For President" which follows is more what I expected. Though it doesn't mean that the rest of the album is all guitar and nothing else. Reid has written complete compositions, not just backdrops for some hot guitar playing, though there is the hot guitar playing. The rest of the instruments are as much a part of the mix -- that's Gary Bruzzese and Dan Tomlinson on drums (crisp, tight, textured), Mario Mendivil on bass (deep, boomy, growly...), and Guy LeBlanc (Nathan Mahl, Camel) on Hammond, and the above mentioned Aimee Davis on voice. There's a Western feel to Reid's guitar, but not C & W. Maybe it's subconscious, knowing he resides in Arizona. This is most apparent in "Time Won't Change For Places To Wait," with its plucked notes and acoustic feel...

"The Ghosts Of Narcissism" is a nice jazzy piece, the kind we might hear from Pat Metheny or Lee Ritenour... to name but two that come to mind. Though it's in "Somewhere..." that bits of Metheny's "Unquity Road" are quoted. It's intricate, deliberate jazz... you can hear the thought behind each note. Reid doesn't rush through it, stating each with a...well...a deliberateness. Mendivil's bass bubbles at first underneath and then above, taking the lead. When Reid takes over again, the notes are no less assured, but come forth more easily (that is, much quicker, in flurries).

The blues-rock of "James Marshall" (as in Hendrix) is the only track with vocals, and it's Reid singing. And doing not a bad job of it, either. It's here we hear LeBlanc on the Hammond, giving this track that additional drive, while Bruzzese pounds the skins and bashes the cymbals. Hot stuff...a scorching track. For a brief interlude, you can hear Reid riffing on a few Hendrix notes (from "Foxey Lady" for one).

"(They Say) The West Is Nice This Time Of Year" is a sentimental, thoughtful piece as Reid muses, taking his time, relaxed. Tomlinson's brushed drums, soft cymbals, and Mendivil gently throbbing bass (I'll call it the "Levin" sound) all give this the sense of being out in the southwestern US, in the desert, among the tumbleweed and cacti... The red/yellow/tan streaked mesas in the distance a bit, the sun just starting to set, giving the skies a greenish/orange tint. The air has cooled to a comfortable temperature...

I can't say a bad thing about Omniumgatherum, except that it seems way too short. At a little over 37 minutes, it is too short. Clayton's right in that, if you had to file it somewhere, it would be hard to pin down. I suppose that's why I just file mine alphabetically.

Reciprocity (1:37) / Application for President (5:37) / The Ghosts of Narcissism (3:53) / Somewhere Between Theory and Forgiveness (6:37) / Time Won't Change for Places to Wait (5:07) / James Marshall (5:56) / (They Say) The West Is Nice This Time of Year (8:43)

Curtis Reid - guitar, synths, voice
Mario Mendivil - bass
Gary Bruzzese - drums
Dan Tomlinson - drums
Guy LeBlanc - organ
Aimee Davis - voice

Curtis Reid (1999)
Omniumgatherum (2001)
711510 (tba)

Genre: Fusion/Jazz Fusion

Origin US

Added: August 25th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 877
Language: english


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