Jim Beard: Holodeck Waltz
Jim Beard (synthesizers)
Song of the Sun (CTI 847 926-2)
Bob Mintzer (flute and bass clarinet), Lenny Pickett (E-flat clarinet), Jon Herington (acoustic guitar), Anthony Jackson (bass), Dennis Chambers (drums), Don Alias (percussion).
Composed by Jim Beard.
Recorded: Stamford, CT, Summer 1990
Rating: 89/100 (learn more)
I have been familiar with keyboardist Jim Beard for over 20 years. He is a wonderful musician and composer. For his own sake, I wish he had a better stage presence. He sometimes seems to disappear. Musically speaking, though, he must be held in the highest esteem by his contemporaries. He is always called on by the best, and doesn't seem to have any problem attracting the best for his own projects. The players present on this cut from his Song of the Sun album reflect his standing.
A "holodeck," as best as I can figure, refers to the virtual reality deck that featured interactive gaming and exercising on the spacecrafts and space stations in the Star Trek: The Next Generation TV series (1987-1994). Isn't it amazing that such concepts are now already being sold as toys for kids? Assuming my interpretation is correct, it is no surprise that Wayne Shorter is one of Beard's guest stars. That comment is meant in a good-natured way. I often see other musicians make such kidding jibes about Shorter. (Wink, wink.)
"Holodeck Waltz" is a bit spacey. Its introduction is right out of the Weather Report style book. (At some point I am going to have to realize that many of the Weather Report influences I cite in reviews are really Wayne Shorter influences!) This tune was written as a showcase for Shorter. He playfully toys with the main melody in counter to Beard's synthesizer sing-songy arpeggios. This creates a calliope effect that is quite pleasing and interesting. It is one of those songs that you want to replay just to listen to a single instrument over again. Us jazz fans are like that. How can we not be when you have Jim Beard, Wayne Shorter, Dennis Chambers, Don Alias et al. to study more closely?
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky