The Tone Sharks

Cave Sleepers

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Freely improvised music is a hard sell for the average listener, and with good reason -- while there exist plenty of examples of lyrical, carefully crafted, and even downright pretty free music, more often it's jagged and forbidding. The Tone Sharks, a spontaneous music crew from Corvallis, OR, manage to make music that is both freely improvised and consistently attractive. That's not to say that everything on this album is conventionally pretty, but -- amazingly -- most of it is. From the rollicking groove of "Surf Shark" to the slow, slightly New Orleans-ish rhythms of the title track, Cave Sleepers is filled with warm, jazzy textures and skillfully spun melody lines. One of the most impressive numbers is "Somewhere Right," an actual song that features what one must assume to be improvised lyrics -- lyrics that should, by all rights, have been deeply embarrassing, but which are in fact quite good. Throughout the album, the work of guitarist Steve Willis is especially noteworthy, but the sensitive drumming of Dave Storrs and Brent Heyne's kaleidoscopic trombone timbres are also a source of constant interest and delight. Highly recommended.

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