Monday, February 6, 2012

Guy Klucevsek "Multiple Personality" CD

While a new release from Guy Klucevsek is always cause for celebration, there is something special about his latest CD, “The Multiple Personality Reunion Tour” (innova 819).

In 2010, Guy was awarded a prestigious USA Fellowship, and the hefty, unrestricted bounty allowed this fringe performer to produce a CD with diverse inspirations and influences, work with some distinguished musicians and some top sound engineers, and develop some idiosyncratic arrangements.

Performers include the Grammy-nominated accordionist Alex Meixner, trumpeter Dave Douglas, percussionist John Hollenbeck, vocalist Theo Bleckman, Carl Finch’s hip polka/rock band Brave Combo, and more.

The CD opens with the lively Breathless and Bewildered, dedicated the legendary Bulgarian accordionist Ivan Milev, arranged for an uncommon ensemble of accordion, trumpet, tuba, banjo, and percussion. Waltz for Sandy presents a slyly flowing melodic line that emerges from Guy’s fleet-fingered keyboard work. An odd piece, Gimme a Minute, Please (My Sequins Are Showing), is dedicated to the Swingle Singers. Some processed background vocals do indeed echo those ‘60s Swingles.

I first became aware of Lars Hollmer upon hearing his timeless Boeves Psalm performed by Guy on his “Free Range Accordion” CD. Guy and Lars were close friends for years, until Lars passed away on Christmas Day in 2008. For me, the CD’s highlight is Guy’s Larsong, dedicated to his dear friend. It’s a lovely, heartful, sweetly sad gem. Somewhere, Lars is listening, smiling.

The attractive Ratatatatouille is dedicated to Kepa Junkera, a Basque trikitixa (accordion) master. Some hazy processed vocals float in the background, disembodied from the acoustic performances.

Next are the pleasant Three Hymnopedies, dedicated to Erik Satie. The full arrangement heard in No. 1 might be dubbed a mini big band sound, with clarinet, saxophones, trumpet, and drums. No. 2 does recall the Gymnopedies. No. 3 offers a sultry, seductive tune, and, d'apr├Ęs Satie, Monsieur Klucevsek has inscribed various expressions upon his score, such as, “Pardon, M’lle, I did not realize that was your foot.” This track also includes the excellent Brave Combo. Guy always works with superb musicians, and, for this CD, he journeyed to Denton, Texas, to record several tracks with Brave Combo, also heard on Pink Elephant, which elicits a wailing solo from Guy.

O’O is dedicated to Martin Denny, aka the “father of exotica.” Guy’s arrangement suitably employs the sounds of flowing water, birds, a ukulele, ocarina, and so forth.

Lars Hollmer dedicated Laderleld (Leather Camp Fire) to “Guy Klucevsek, Accordion Rider” (which seems a prescient look-ahead to the cover image on Guy’s "Free Range Accordion" CD). Guy’s arrangement here begins with the classic poking-along cowboy motive, and draws on the talented Texan accordionist Ginny Mac.

Guy dedicates The C&M Waltz to cousins who have danced to Slovenian/American bands for over 50 years. He draws on his youthful memories of such music to produce a warmly appealing piece.

The concluding track features some tasty accordion work from Guy and Alex Meixner, an excellent accordionist who performs on most of the CD’s tracks. The title “Moja Baba Je Pijana” apparently translates as “My Old Lady is Drunk.”

This “Multiple Personality” CD does indeed reflect an exceptionally wide range of influences and inspirations, Guy’s ever-fertile imagination, his effective arrangements, impeccable musicianship, and genuine musical pleasures from start to finish.