Melody In A Dream is the epitome of an artist with both feet firmly planted in tradition but with both eyes firmly fixed on the future.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
It has become somewhat cliché for an artist to release his or her own personal tribute recording to their personal influence with most being predictable and utterly forgettable. Steve Cardenas doesn't do a riff on anyone other than himself while embracing a more harmonic directive from greats such as Paul Motian and Joey Baron. Cardenas has been fortunate to have tenure with both the late Paul Motian and the great Joey Baron who holds down the drum chair on Melody In A Dream. In addition, Cardenas has been a part of ensembles led by Charlie Haden as well as fronting his own critically acclaimed ensembles all while keeping his artistic integrity and lyrical vision for the future.
Minor keys and odd meter allow for a unique dynamic tension with a deceptively subtle swing and melodic sense of urgency. "New Moon" is a rather organic swing that welcomes back the walking bass line by Thomas Morgan. The deconstructed swing of Joey Baron's "Broken Time" is an engaging musical conversation where choruses and banged out with malicious intent! The eclectic Thelonious Monk tune "Teo" remains quirky but with a percussive pop as Cardenas and Joey Baron reinvent this classic with intensity and panache. Shane Endsley is a rising star on trumpet who makes an appearance on three tracks, most notably the Paul Motian closer "In The Year Of The Dragon."
Inventive and adventurous, Steve Cardenas manages to create the more open ended three dimensional sonic depth of field that takes what may have be an ordinary release to an extraordinary level. About as close to perfect as you can get.
Tracks: Just One More Time; New Moon; Ode To Joey; Once Around The Park; Broken Time; Street Of Dreams; Subconscious-Lee; Peace; Teo; In The Year Of The Dragon.