The unusual proliferation of hyperlinks should indicate my enthusiasm, but a few words might help for those who would rather read than click.
The Unaccounted Four is a quartet of trumpet, clarinet / tenor, guitar, bass. Historically-minded readers will think of the Django-Rex Stewart session, the Bechet-Spanier Big Four, the Ruby Braff-George Barnes Quartet, and in our century, the EarRegulars. And all of those connections would be valid, although the U 4 leans more to the pensive than the combative, with echoes of the Alec Wilder Octet.
The U 4 is swinging, melodic, deeply thoughtful and playful all at once. And they have understood something about time as well — and I don’t mean simply a swinging flexible 4 / 4. If modern physics — and modern art — have helped us understand that time is more a field than a series of beads on a string, the U 4 enacts that easy flexibility in the most charming ways. In their playing, hot jazz and The Birth of the Cool sit at the same table; Charlie Parker and Charlie Holmes go to the same reed repairman, and Miles smiles warmly at Louis.
For visual as well as auditory proof of this band’s happy approach to music and to our hearts, here are four videos from a July 2015 performance.
Nothing UNDECIDED here — sparkling chamber jazz that makes this familiar song sound exactly like new:
Then, Ravel’s SLEEPING BEAUTY:
James P. Johnson’s SNOWY MORNING BLUES:
And Bix’s IN THE DARK:
Endearing lyricism is what I call it.
May your happiness increase!