In a short liner note to his album Time Remembered, guitarist David Pedrick calls it “in essence, a deconstruction of the song “Time Remembered” by pianist and composer Bill Evans.” Now while I am always down with any jazz musician invoking the name and work of the great Bill Evans, I must confess some problem with the term “deconstruction.”
My ideas about the term come from the French literary critic and philosopher Jacques Derrida. Deconstruction is a critical theory which tries to come to terms with the often problematical relation between language and meaning. It is a complex theory that is often as bewildering as the phenomenon it seeks to explain. How it is related to music in general and more importantly how it explains what Pedrick and his quartet are about in the album are both beyond me.
Pedrick does explain further. The album is not an “homage” in the usual sense, rather it is “an effort to further explore the possibilities in a particular work” thereby enhancing “appreciation of both.” No quarrel here, Evans is the kind of creative artist whose work is ripe for further exploration. But exploration is not deconstruction, and one thing Evans’ music doesn’t need is deconstruction (whatever that may be as applied to music). But enough quibbling about terminology.
Pedrick also points out that the album’s nine tracks were not rehearsed collectively and the whole was recorded in one studio session. While that may be true, the album doesn’t have the feel of an impromptu jam session. There is a real sense that Time Remembered works as a cohesive, certainly unified whole, almost classical is its unity in its development of Evans’s ideas in new directions. One thinks of all those classical composers writing Variations on a Theme by—fill in the blank.
The unity of the piece is further indicated by the fact that all the song titles are anagrams of Bill Evans. “Bill’s Vane” opens the session; “I’ll Be Van’s” completes it. In between, you’ve got some not so clever titles like “Lab Snivel,” “Navel’s Lib,” and “Slab Liven.” If anything is subject to deconstruction, it would be these titles, but why bother. They are anagrams, and that’s enough. It is the music that is important.
And the music is excellent. Ryan Kauffman (soprano saxophone), Steve Meashey (bass) and Dave Young (drums) work with Pedrick to great effect. Pedrick, himself, plays some mean guitar and he is echoed by Kauffman on tunes like “Vain Bells” and “Ball Vines.” “Slab Liven” features Meashey’s fine work on bass. Young is a dynamo consistently driving the music.
Forget about deconstruction, Time Remembered is an album that would have made Bill Evans proud.
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