Jack Mouse Group
Tall Grass Records (TG8285)
Janice Borla - voice
Scott Robinson - tenor saxophone, slide saxophone, bamboo flute, gobichand
Jack Mouse - drum set, Chinese opera gong, Japanese hyoshigi, Sabian Zodiac gong, Sabian thunder sheet, Sabian tam-tam, Japanese densho bell, Slaperoo slapstick
With guest artist:
Mark Feldman - violin
Artful Dodgers is the result of what happens when “critical mass” meets opportunity — in this case, the chance to add a critical component at just the right moment to an already potent entity.
Three Story Sandbox, with guest artist, violinist Mark Feldman, reprises the inventive and delightfully musical free improvisation heard on its debut release Three Story Sandbox. That project reunited two master jazz musicians, drummer Jack Mouse and multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson and added vocalist Janice Borla, The result was an album hailed as captivating, powerful, compelling, visceral and inspired, and a DownBeat Magazine Editor’s Pick.
The current release Artful Dodgers expands the trio to include guest artist Mark Feldman. A violin virtuoso, Feldman is known for his adventurous, genre-bending work in the worlds of jazz, improvised music and 20th century contemporary music. The addition of his violin here exponentially expands the range of sonic possibilities and interactions.
The album’s title refers to the nickname of a young pickpocket in Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist, a scamp and rascal known for his playful skill in deftly evading obstacles, inconveniences and other challenges, skills which also come into play in free improvisation. The overarching premise of the album is to make improvised music that sounds written – to create a spontaneous, conversational, yet organized interplay of sounds.
Interplay is on radiant display throughout this album. The tracks offer a variety of settings — duets, trios, quartets — which comprise a broad array of textures and a full emotional palette, from exuberant joy to beguiling aural imageries. Jack’s total percussion mastery demonstrates his skills not only as an intuitive compositional soloist but also a sensitive, conversational accompanist. Scott’s impeccable abilities and limitless creative imagination shine on tenor and slide saxophones, bamboo flute and East Indian gobichand. Janice freely exploits the full range of her vocal capabilities as if another instrumentalist, with consummate artistry. Mark’s technical brilliance on violin yields a gorgeous sound and a passionate, often fiery playing style.
When so much of what is called “free Jazz” is unstructured, chaotic, discordant and often unaccessible, the music on Artful Dodgers is in fact uniquely accessible. Each of its thirteen pieces is crafted to convey a mood, ambience and compelling atmosphere that makes each one a story unto itself. Despite the total spontaneity and freedom involved in making this music, it is powerfully structured, totally cohesive, richly musical, vividly virtuosic and absolutely enjoyable on every level. Another masterful recording by Three Story Sandbox.
1) Twin Rivers
2) Kalahari Crossing
3) Slip ‘n’ Slide
4) Brush Dance
6) Second Line Strut
7) Tears for Ukraine
8) Outback Inn
9) Birth of a Rainbow
10) Artful Dodgers
12) The Other Side of the Moon
13) Fiddle Sticks
Thierry De Clemensat, Paris-Move.com
"Culturally, it’s a marvelous album, a kind of music meant to be experienced and enjoyed live. Both vocally and musically, we’re dealing with top-tier artists here. Their musical compatibility, proficient in all jazz styles, is vividly captured. The role of the violin here is that of a narrator, while the voice serves as that of an actor/singer, sometimes joyful, sometimes inquisitive, sometimes dancing, like a breath of life. The voice belongs to Janice Borla, commanding and precise, impossible to ignore, much like the violin. Conversations unfold between voices and instruments, undoubtedly compelling the listener to reflect on themselves, their way of experiencing art, the arts… a ‘Coup de Cœur' (favorite).”