Barney McAll Reviews:
FERAL review in the Bass Player by E.E. Bradman, March 12, 2015:
Right from the opening
notes of Trio Feral’s debut, you know you’re in for a wild ride beyond the confines of everyday harmonic clichés
and artificially imposed no-fly zones. No matter which galaxy thousand-limbed keyboardist Barney McCall visits, however, fellow
Groove Collective lifer Jonathan Maron’s mighty bass magic is never far from Earth, and his mind-lock with drummer Bill
Campbell is simply heavenly. A handful of short interstellar excursions—to robolandia in “The Medium Is the Message,”
a twinkly star world in “Summertime Chocolate,” and an abandoned planet in “Phrzn Frby,” for example—leads
to meltdown, humor, and ominous horror before reaching the album’s bass-tastic destination, “Tell Me,” and
then powering down, sometimes ferociously, to a blissfully floating conclusion. If Maron’s ridiculously full-bodied
grooves and super-stank solos don’t inspire involuntary neck spasms and that “what’s that smell?”
look, check your pulse—you just might be out of oxygen.
McAll is a musical conjurer of the highest order"
-CMJ WEBSITE REVIEW
was a virtual absence of familiar bop riffs, extended bop harmonies or precise bop rhythms. Instead, Rosenwinkel’s pieces
offered turbulent, thickly textured waves of sound, mostly produced by Barney McAll’s impassioned keyboard work."
-LOS ANGELES TIMES
"Barney is a special piano player with that certain heart and
touch, so he has great possibilities. He’s a genuine musician, not just a skilled artist. There’s a certain touch
that I’m talking about. It’s hard to explain, but he has that"
"Using space and simplicity, Barney McAll conjures mighty music"
"McAll manages to intelligently integrate pop elements into his music and deserves much wider attention"
-LOS ANGELES TIMES
Release The Day
Call this Australian-born
pianist's New York answering machine and you'll hear
Radiohead's "Knives Out," a forlorn song that slips and
slides like a
wicked ocean undertow. This is a clue to the open-ended music of
Release the Day, which hints at the
dark melodies of Radiohead, the
happy strut of Dollar Brand, the exotic allure of Randy Weston, and
the funky counter-rhythms
of Cubano bop. The opening track, "Thirty
Three," is a simple motif repeated for 15-plus minutes, casting an
engrossing spell while Joey Baron, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Eddie Bobe, and
Gary Bartz tease its gossamer melody. It's a simmering
a beautiful record. The album inches along from the Afro-Cuban
rumination of "Obatala"
to the spectral chant of "Chaos Lento" to the
bluesy, beautiful saunter of the "Release the Day,"
which recalls a
Becker-Fagen brass melody from Aja or Two Against Nature.
Using space and simplicity, Barney
McAll conjures mighty music.
Release The Day
By Don Williamson
Having performed music throughout his entire career that started
in his teens--and mostly in his native
Australian continent in conjunction with singer Vince Jones--keyboardist Barney
McAll has absorbed
numerous influences to develop his own style. Now at the age of thirty-three--and "Thirty Three"
to be the title of the first track on Release The Day--McAll has blended on this CD all of those
styles into a synthesis that consistently promotes the spiritual feel of the music.
The spirituality of McAll’s
music is evident immediately even on the first track, which McAll dedicates to the
Orisha "Elegua," who "opens
all doors." Seemingly curious about all cultures and delving into numerous
religions, McAll’s performance
in Havana in 1996 must have been a life-altering experience. Having met
Chucho Valdés and Ramon Valle there, McAll
immersed himself in the Santería religion, and the results
have become a permanent component of his music. One
would expect McAll to present his technical skills
on his premier Transparent Music CD, but Release The Day instead establishes
an inspiring ambience
on all of the tracks.
For instance, "Thirty Three" overlays the horns’
long tones over the reassuring and repetitive 6/8
percussiveness established by drummer Joey Baron, bassist Tony Scherr
and percussionist Eddie Bobe.
McAll, the composer of all of the tunes on Release The Day, fades into a coloristic role,
chiming accents here or sustained chords there. Rather than McAll, the real voice of "Thirty Three"
McAll’s mentor, Gary Bartz, who heightens the underlying tension of the song with a controlled frenzy,
"My One And Only Love" and converting a solo into a beseeching.
"Obatala" is just as concerned
with Santerían respect and worship, as McAll dedicates this tune to yet
another Orisha. Its African texture, with
its irregular metrical patterns and yet its cyclic nature, is
reminiscent of some of Randy Weston’s work. Thus,
it refers to the Yoruban integration of music with daily
living that ultimately formed the basis for the Cuban religion
But Cuban music derived from the Santerían spirits comprises just two of the references to the
McAll’s concept. "Tanzanian Folk Melody," which features Jay Rodriguez’ evocative flute
work and a
call-and-response structure, developed from an East African field recording that McAll heard. "Chaos
Lento" involves a non-metrical, and even ethereal, theme as guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel creates the
embellished by Baron’s subtle shimmers and rumbles for an atmospheric piece of Asian
origin. On the other hand,
McAll brings in allusions to blues sensibilities on "Release The Day," as he
switches to the organ and as the
ensemble creates a sway that’s almost R&B in the irresistibility of its feel.
Yet, McAll delivers the
final track, "Daria," as a halting, solo performance that one expects to
beckon the sounds of nature, like
bird calls and the shore-line crashing of ocean waves. Meditative in
nature, "Daria" concludes the album with
upper-register ringing and metrical abandonment for a solitary
consideration of the universality of the music and the
human soul’s connection to it.