Nate Dorward

The Ultimate Frog

15 posts in this topic

Not sure if this is the right forum for this post--if not the moderators can move it--as it's not a disinterested review but a plug for a project I was involved in somewhat. (I wrote the liners.) Anyway: the guitarist Jim McAuley's new two CD set The Ultimate Frog is now out in the world from Drip Audio. It's a set of duets recorded 2002-2007 with four different musicians: Leroy Jenkins (violin, viola), Nels Cline (guitar, dobro), Alex Cline (drums, percussion), Ken Filiano (bass). Some free improvisation, some structured improvisation, and a few nice tunes that draw on Jim's background in fingerpicked blues & folk music (& his study of the oud). Plus a "duet" between Jim & a rainstorm outside, dedicated to Rod Poole. I won't say a lot about it (you can find the press release on the Drip Audio site if you're curious--most of it is actually stuff I cut from the liners to get them to a single page) except that I think it's truly remarkable music with a lot of soul & honesty. Only the 2nd disc I've done the liners for (the other, by Charlie Kohlhase, hasn't emerged yet) & it's really a pleasure to be involved with such an exceptional record. There are several MP3s on the Drip Audio site if you want a taste.

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Just from your post it sounds great. Anybody reviewing it for Bagatellen yet? (hint, hint)

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Hey Clifford--no idea if anyone's doing it for Bags! I certainly hope so (& if you're in the mood yourself, drop me a line & I can get you a review copy). I think it'd definitely appeal to you, given its stylistic combo of free improv, classical & roots music.

I just came across this very nice appreciation by the trumpeter Kris Tiner, which also has a few nice shots of Jim in action at a recent gig.

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Just dropped on eMusic. I may check it out in a month or two, put it on my growing Save For Later stash.

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Just saw that Ben Ratliff gave a nice writeup of the disc in the NY Times (link here). Good to see, as so far (Drip Audio being a Canadian label), virtually all the coverage has been north of the border.

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Nate, I gave this (along with a few other cds) to a longtime bud of mine for Christmas which was both a sign of how much I liked it and how little else I've heard in the past year that I thought he'd like.

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Hope you still have your friend.... :)

Actually (seriously) it's a pretty user-friendly inside/outside kind of disc. My wife even tolerates it when I have it on the stereo.......!

A few other reviews have rolled in since the Ratliff--I especially liked Massimo Ricci's writeup for his site Touching Extremes (link).

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Hi Nate. I'm working on a review for CODA. Better late than never as the old cliche goes. This is a real ear-opener of a recording.

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Hey, thanks Bill--I look forward to reading the piece!

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Have been resisting the urge to post links to every review this disc has received so far, but thought I'd make an exception for this piece by Jason Bivins for Dusted, probably the best review (in terms of its really seeming to GET the music perfectly, & being written very well also) that the disc has received to date.

http://www.dustedmagazine.com/reviews/4865

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Hi Nate. I'm working on a review for CODA. Better late than never as the old cliche goes. This is a real ear-opener of a recording.

Hey, thanks Bill--I look forward to reading the piece!

Drat! The month-and-a-half when I was PC-less put a crimp in that plan... I haven't heard back from Andy since regaining Internet access, so it looks like the possible CODA review remains in limbo. Sigh...

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Truthfully, I'm not entirely sure if Coda is still around--you heard anything? There's a thread elsewhere on the board about the prolonged silence from the mag.....

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Whoa! It would be a major drag if such an esteemed publication went belly-up. I hadn't seen the other thread but will search it out. And, no, I haven't heard anything, although from my experience it's rather odd that I've never heard back from Andrew Scott, as he is very proactive as an editor. My old Hotmail account is now dead-in-the-water, so I didn't have his direct (home) e-mail anymore. I sent a message to the CODA editor e-mail and to date have received no response. Not a good sign... Sigh...

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