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Dotsero — Storyhouse

Mar. 14, 2012

Well, better late than never. Having just gotten my hands on this wonderful contemporary jazz project that was one of JazzTrax’s Top Ten Best Albums of 2011, I wonder how this one escaped my radar. Still, I’m only a bit disturbed. After hearing the quality and texture of this album, I am quickly returned to a state of well-being knowing that I am at least now among those aware that Dotsero has released yet another pleaser entitled Storyhouse. So, allow me to toss in my late two cents, at least.

It actually comes as no surprise to me that this group that has withstood the test of time for so long (since 1990, actually – even performing as part of Russ Freeman’s Rippingtons at one point!) is still cranking out quality. Their smooth and unique style has always been among the best. In fact, their very name means “something unique” according to Ute Native American language to some. I’ll certainly buy that. Theirs is a brand of contemporary jazz that is distinctly theirs.

This generous album (17 tracks) contains a diverse lineup of tunes from standard contemporary jazz (is that an oxymoron??) which include a smokin’ opening track called “That’s Just the Way It Is.” I actually thought this tune might be a cover of an old Bruce Hornsby or Phil Collins tune. Not at all.  Rather, it’s a total original from multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Kip Kuepper). The album then takes several interesting twists and turns, often just offering snippets of tracks then returning to the full version later in the album.

There are significant rock leanings here (e.g., “Same Page, Different Books,” a cool cover of U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” a unique cover of Chicago’s classic “25 or 6 to 4”), as well as poppin’ signature Dotsero jazz (e.g., -among others- the snappy “Kansas Ballet Song,” which was the JazzTrax choice of one the Top Ten Songs of the Year).

Yes, I may well be late with my take on this fine album, but Dotsero is, as usual, on time with its take on what works for the tastes of contemporary jazz fans, and that’s why the band remains so very relevant today. – Ronald Jackson