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Apothecary Charms is so unbelievably different than what I’ve heard from Dave Halverson, that I’m really not sure what to think. March Forth was a bit rigid in tradition, from what little I can recall. I mean, songs like “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” done in modern contemporary jazz don’t necessarily scream outside the box. But there’s none of that here.

The first notes of “A Quick Dance On A Shallow Grave” find Halverson straying into unfamiliar waters in the jazz world — distorted guitar. And then “Scary Night” continues the trend in obscuring the traditional boundaries of a genre that’s been shredded by the greats like Charles Mingus and Miles Davis. The emphasis here is definitely guitar, and Halverson’s blend of rock and jazz blends the genres in a way that at times seems slightly experimental.

Apothecary Charms is also an array of soundscapes, from the more pointed, rock-driven jazz of “A Quick Dance On A Shallow Grave” and “Postulus”, to the experimental elements backed by electro-funk in “K”, to the more drawn-out tonal “The Agonist”, and even the more clean… err I say traditional sounding… guitar in “Addition By Refraction”.

For the modern jazz fan, Halverson appeals to the bizarre: Apothecary Charms is not your parents’ contemporary radio-friendly jazz. This is for the true jazz lover and the fan of obscure rock.




January 2009