"This n' That" John Blegen's Latest Release Reviewed by Judi K
Musicians on the RecordingJohn Blegen (Clarinet), Bram Wijnands, (piano) Bob Bowman (bass) Mike Pagan (piano), Philip Wakefield (Drums).
Clarinet lovers alert! A new CD by Kansas City’s own John Blegen is ready, willing and able to make your days more enjoyable . While looking over the titles of the songs, I got the impression Mr. Blegen was creating this as a tribute to his wife Alice. After reading her story of how she met John—(Chicken Soup for the Soul), I could surmise that at least every other song is a tribute to their love for each other. On this recording John composed two songs, “Mr CH”, (a tribute to the late Chuck Hedges), and “She Found Me” a for his wife Alice. Both of these tunes are skillfully written and skillfully played. You can hear samples and purchase the CD at CDBABY.com/JohnBlegen And the other tunes are every bit as interesting: Each song carefully narrates a beautiful interpretation of the piece John is playing. The entire musical team on this CD is the lovely framework of the subject. I am always happy to hear a piano man who can play the way Michael Pagan and Bram Wijnands each do. Thoughtful of the soloists’ ideas, they both respect the “less is more” approach; and, when it comes to their own solo, it’s a joyful ride showing dexterity and preciseness… whether it’s on the stride side or the more modern/classical sides. I love a drummer who not only keeps great time and doesn’t overpower anything; yet plays the song as though he is playing the melody. Phillip Wakefield does that. As does the bass man Bob Bowman ( a great name for a bass player)… and for this entire group, I could say they are a complete team, wanting the entire team to be winners. I feel it is very important for a group to show heart in their music. And they do. Blegen’s tribute to Chuck Hedges (Mr. CH) is a gas. John’s clean playful riff emulations made me smile and I could “see” Chuck playing and eyes cast downward, watching the holes in his horn as his fingers moved meticulously over the small sound holes with the clear whole music coming from them. If Chuck could say ‘thanks’ I know he would. All in all, John Blegen has much to be proud of with the outing of his first CD. It’s a wonderful time to be had for all listeners. Judi K Judi K is a jazz vocalist who performed with Tombonist Jim Beebe and many other artists throughout the country. She is also a featured writer for the Mississippi Rag and Rhythm & News