JAZZY FOLK…The Dickens Campaign: Oh Lovely Appearance

I first saw the  combination of drums, cornet and guitar by the respective artists Deric Dickens, Kirk Knuffke and Jesse Lewis and thought “Oh, no; wild free form self indulgence.” Boy, did these guys give a pleasant surprise!

What leader Dickens has done is that he’s delved into the archival folk recordings from the famed Alan Lomax, who collected traditional music and folk legends back in the 30s on his tape recorder. These melodies are played with a respect to the history, but with an added texure of modern thought and improvisation, and the end product is impressive. There’s a hometown folksiness on Lewis’ acoustic guitar with a 2 step shuffle on “ As I Went Out For a Ramble,” contrasted with a lonely electric guitar and horn on “Poem.” A lithe shuffle boogie on Dickens’ own “My Baby Likes to Sing” creates a more back porch mood than the impressionistic “Paul Motian” while Lewis’ thick string work almost sounds like a tuba on “Twice as Heavy.” Lots is said here with small brush strokes!


Leave a Reply