I was listening to Richard Bliwas' new release, "Uncovered" and wondering what was going on. This latest CD from jazz pianist/keyboardist Bliwas contains 17 tracks and ten of them are covers. But the name of the CD is UNcovered. And there are pictures of baskets everywhere- front, back, inside- even the disc itself is printed with a woven basket graphic.
Bliwas reveals a wealth of influences here- show tunes like "I could Write a Book," a venerable standard (That Old Black Magic), several Lennon/McCartney compositions, even a folk song and a country tune - all surrounded by Bliwas originals. Then I realised what he was doing. Bliwas is showing us his musical influences, his heritage- he's uncovered them for us, and like a great basket weaver, these influences are woven together with Bliwas' own unique style, the strands and twines of this basket revealed to us in its complex pattern.
Here is Malvina Reynolds' "Little Boxes" as you never thought you'd hear it- bubbling and bleeping with Richard's intricate rhythms and time structures. Same with Lennon & McCartney's "Julia." Bliwas turns it into a haunting evocation of memories as his voice weaves in and out of the melody along with piano runs and organ fills. "That Old Black Magic" seems like a magical spell of its own- the various elements swirling and mixing together to create a unique yet familiar potion.
Listening to the album creates a tapestry of forces and emotions. It's a bit like an experimental jazz version of The Residents Third Reich and Roll. Richard Bliwas is a brave musician- - he has uncovered his musical past for us and woven it into a brand new creation, a unique vision. It's a lovely, startling, rewarding basket. Pick it up, feel it, listen to it, explore it. It's a wonderful treasure.
Check out Richard's website:
And tune in to hear Uncovered on NeverEndingWonder Radio:
(Or in iTunes, go to the radio section and find NeverEndingWonder Radio in the Eclectic category)