[JPL] CD Review: Garry Dial & Terre Roche US AN ¹ THEM

Jazz Promo Services jazzpromo at earthlink.net
Fri Oct 24 08:50:46 EDT 2008

October 24, 2008

Media Alert: Garry Dial & Terre Roche US AN¹THEM A COLLECTION OF NATIONAL
ANTHEMS Street Date November 25, 2008

CD Review by Michael McDowell Editor/Publisher Blitz Magazine Since 1975 -
The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People

By Michael McDowell

US AN¹THEM - Garry Dial And Terre Roche (Just Dial Roche)

Inflammatory political rhetoric has been front and center in the mass media
for decades. Even more so in this first decade of the new millennium, in
which it is becoming more readily apparent that the last days of which the
Biblical books of Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation foretold are imminent.

In such a volatile climate, many of the world¹s nations have been
experiencing political upheaval. In the process, some of its leading
entertainment figures have become self-appointed guardians of the public
trust, weighing in on matters of state with varying degrees of credibility.
Sadly, many of their endeavors have also proven to be neither selfless or
bereft of impartiality.

Enter pianist Garry Dial and singer/songwriter Terre Roche; two highly
regarded figures in their respective favored idioms (jazz and folk), who
have provided herein an altruistic forum for artists to weigh in by
providing their own interpretations of sixteen national anthems. Altruistic
in that they have asked nothing more of the various participants than to
deliver to the best of their ability and with faithfulness to their
respective artistic visions.

Although they both have opted to use their public podium to champion their
respective causes over the years, of the two, it is Roche whose work has
gravitated more towards the political spotlight. As cofounder of the Park
Ridge, New Jersey-based Roches (with sisters Maggie and Suzzy), Terre Roche
has maintained an undercurrent of social consciousness in her work (which in
part was influenced by Gospel, folk and rock and roll); in turn inspiring
such like minded artists as the Chenille Sisters and collaborations with
Paul Simon, King Crimson¹s Robert Fripp and others.

Conversely, Dial (who concurrently serves as a professor at both the
Manhattan School Of Music and Mannes College Of Music in New York City) has
prioritized academia in his mission statement. Nonetheless, as a one time
collaborator with trumpeters Ira Sullivan and the late Charlie Parker
sideman, Robert Roland ³Red Rodney² Chudnick, Dial has as a result
emphasized the passion factor in his academic discipline.

Roche and Dial actually laid the groundwork for this project in the early
1990s, gradually entrusting the rendering of each anthem to artists either
under their tutelage or with demonstrated vision of their respective anthems
as a celebratory device, rather than one subjected to the ever changing
winds of the political climate. In that respect, they have kept the original
blueprint intact while allowing each participant carte blanche within those

Although Roche and Dial profess no particular agenda in the selection of the
sixteen anthems presented in this collection, each does have the common
thread of adaptability in both structure and execution. And although one
selection does not even represent a specific country (Esperanto, which
celebrates the language founded in 1887 by ophthalmologist Ludwig Lazarus
Zamenhof as an international means of communication), each soloist (assisted
as needed by either Roche or Dial) brings just enough of their own mission
statement to the table to season the mix, with Executive Producer Bob
Justich giving them the free rein to do so.

To that effect, Brazil¹s national anthem benefits from a sympathetic
rendering from Barbara Mendes with Dial¹s Sergio Mendes-flavored, flute (by
the New York City-based Anne Drummond) and percussion (from Forro In The
Dark¹s Mauro Refosco) friendly arrangement. Likewise, the great nation of
Israel is rightfully lauded by Dial¹s exuberant score, allowing vocalist
Levi Kaplan to extol its numerous virtues without succumbing to hyperbole.

And in some instances, the universal language of music herein portrays the
host nations in unlikely yet compatible lights. Witness the quasi-Manhattan
Transfer meets McCoy Tyner and Prestige era Miles Davis romp (with Roche on
lead vocals) through La Marseillaise, the national anthem of jazz-happy
France. Or the Time Further Out-era Dave Brubeck take on Austria¹s Land Der
Berge, Land Am Strome.

Bridging any perceived gap is tantamount to the project¹s objectives,
according to Dial in the featurette in the accompanying DVD. The DVD also
includes brief and fascinating spotlights on participating artists Susan
McKeown (Ireland), Sidiki Conde (Guinea), Samir Chatterjee (India) and
Namgyal Neshi (Tibet).

Perhaps the lone exception to the project¹s professed musical and cultural
solidarity is Dial¹s low key take on Calixa Lavallee¹s O Canada, which
succeeded God Save The Queen as Canada¹s national anthem in July 1980.
Rendered with its original grandeur intact, a solid case could be made for O
Canada as being the greatest of all national anthems. Its Gospel-like
reverence portrays the splendor of the provinces with the utmost of national

However, regarded in the light of provincial public opinion having taken
umbrage with the mass media¹s portrayal of Parliament and its handling of
certain so-called ³hot button² issues (as reflected in the results of the 14
October national elections), Dial¹s Manhattan School Of Music colleague,
Peter Eldridge may well be within reason in downplaying the reverential
elements of the piece in favor of the compassionate and intimate ones.

To be certain, Us An¹ Them is a resounding success on all counts. And given
the wide range of possibilities extant with a proposed second volume (which
would benefit greatly from the inclusion of such unlikely participants as
Cuba and North Korea), Dial and Roche may well find themselves once again
sowing the seeds of their harvest for some time to come.

For Interviews, Photos and Promos Contact:
Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail: jazzpromo at earthlink.net
Jazz Promo East: Lorraine Tucci Sound newsoundideas at earthlink.net

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