Children’s songs tend toward purity, and so does the remarkable music of Kid Songs. Comprised of four younger musicians that share an East Coast connection and one seasoned Los Angeles veteran, Kid Songs has captured sounds here that allow us to witness this beautiful and surprising journey.
Though this is an ensemble presentation at its essence, trombonist/composer Ryan Dragon’s musical personality pervades. Embracing microtonality, contrafactual brilliance, soundscapes, driving metric modulation, meditative grooves and myriad rhythmic influences, Dragon’s strong musical presence imbues the entire proceedings.
Everyone here has a voice that honestly speaks. Bassist Richard Giddens anchors the proceedings with understated strength, and drummer Devin Drobka both drives forcefully and colors impressionistically – often at the same time. The personal voice of Mike Bjella’s tenor offers sincere testimony throughout, and veteran keyboardist John Beasley’s creative energy colors every aspect of the ensemble sound.
The tenuous entanglement of memory and reality – observed best by Nabokov in his memoir “Speak, Memory” -- seem particularly evinced in this music. The usual suspects are present here -- melody, groove, harmony, blah, blah, blah – but the prism created by Kid Songs offers a different view – skewed perhaps, but no less truthful. We remember events quite differently from how they actually occurred, and recounting the same story on multiple occasions finds that narrative twisting to fit each new circumstance. Our memories of childhood are no less true for their lack of accuracy, and Kid Songs’ candor – composed, improvised and interpreted – is indisputable.
Each composition here has its own architectural integrity, and though each individual’s playing is inspired and impressive, the sound of the band – the journey – is what we cherish. Listen, remember – enjoy the purity.
— Joey Sellers, April 2015
released June 9, 2015
Ryan Dragon - Trombone
Mike Bjella - Tenor Saxophone
John Beasley - Piano / Keys
Richard Giddens - Bass
Devin Drobka - Drums
Recorded at Tritone Studios on April 14, 2014
Sound Engineered and Mixed by Talley Sherwood
Mastered by Nate Wood, Kerseboom Mastering, New York
Produced by Ryan Dragon
Artwork and Design by Eron Rauch
Liner Notes by Joey Sellers
"Orenda Records punches above its weight... informed by rock, modern classical, and jazz, and combine these genres in a
natural, organic fashion... Orenda’s musicians grew up in a post-Braxton era where musical styles are viewed on a continuum rather than as individual silos of expression."
–Avant Music News...more
This is a great record! It reminds me a little of Gunther Schuller's 'Third Wave' experiments.
I admire Dave for his consistent involvement in moving the music forward ...as complex, involving and articulate as anything he has done. John Cratchley