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Bill Cornish — Kaleidoscope

Dec. 5, 2013

Keyboardist Bill Cornish has stepped forward with another fine project full of creativity, imagination, and diversity. Walking along the paths of fusion and World music, Bill CornishKaleidoscope is as its name suggests – a project of changing colors and patterns.

From the fiery, driving lead track, “Cruise Control,” to the cool island feel of “Sidewinder” with its melodic vibe presence and solidly integrated fusion moments (an excellent example of how Cornish changes the pattern and mood mid-song, capturing a little of this and a little of that) to the interesting odyssey called “Five Sides to Every Story” to the captivating Caribbean-tinged dance he calls “Left Coast,” and on through the other well-conceived and performed tracks found here, Cornish does a wonderful job of engaging listeners of varying tastes. For example, in addition to the tracks I’ve mentioned, a must-hear is the gritty, funky jam called “A Little Bit O Funk.” I would ordinarily say that the song title is appropriate but, in this case, it actually understates the amount and intensity of the funk found here. Check out Cornish’s synthesized B3 organ action on this track. Mean.

The album even has an air of mystique about it as the flautist who provides a certain soothing warmth on “Left Coast” and “Waltz for San Carlos” chooses to remain anonymous. Intriguing, to say the least.

This album embraces and, in a sense, pays homage to the desires of those artists in the genre who are always looking deeper within for more of that coloring-outside-the-lines approach. It’s what keeps many contemporary jazz fans solidly in the corner of the genre. It strikes me as a somewhat humble, unassuming project that hits hard and effectively. Two thumbs up. — Ronald Jackson