New Album by Pacific Woods
Reviewed by David Steffen
Before you hear the music, the artwork on the CD package makes you start thinking. Then you see the title, and a fragment of imaginary music may come to mind. By the time you open the CD and get ready to listen you're thinking you know what's coming.
From the first bars, you figure out that the Celts have been here. Sirens (from Greek mythology) have probably spent time here, their songs so compelling they drive sailors to find the rocks, instead of a safe harbor. "Finisterre" is an album for listening at home, or sitting somewhere. Somewhere other than in your car, by the way. You want to be able to enjoy the music thoroughly, without distractions. And enjoy you will.
It's reasonable to conclude that the title of the album "Finisterre," is no accident, and from the first notes you begin to picture the two members of Pacific Woods, standing on those Spanish cliffs above the water. In Galicia, to be precise. And now you know why the sailors were lost. Lost inside the siren's songs.
Actually, the cliffs are thousand of miles west of Galicia. In northern California. The two members of Pacific Woods, Harrison Goldberg and Dave Jordan, are outstanding musicians. Give them a classic Jazz chart and they'll kill it. (That's a good thing.) However, in some respects, it's more important that they are able to intuit the musical journey. With each track of this album you can feel a visceral call-and-response as Goldberg's breath and Jordan's fingers take us on our journey. You can get lost in the album and happily, there are no rocks below us. No sea to endanger us.
"Finisterre" is a baker's dozen of superb tracks. You get no sense that Goldberg's sax and Jordan's bass are fighting for digital supremacy. Rather they are much like a coin. One flip and the sax seems to take precedence. Flip the coin and the roles are reversed. And the listener wins each time.
I can provide you a list of tracks and say "listen to this track or that track." But I won't. Pick up the CD and listen to it all. Safely.
The Lighthouse Peddler; reprinted with permission
David Steffen writes about history and the arts under the pen name
He oversaw day-to-day operations at GRP Records, a jazz-oriented label based
in New York, and later worked for BMG Music (NY) and A&M Records (CHI, LA).