Smith-pedal steel guitar, percussion
Bob Fernandez, John Fitzgerald, M.B. Gordy, Theresa Knight-percussion
I used to think Smith’s music evoked the flat, wide-open spaces of the American West. Now I think a more accurate description is the limitless interiors of the mind. Not that the two are mutually exclusive; in fact, they compliment one another. But the West, finally, doesn’t have the space to contain all that this music suggests. The title work evidences this. The pedal steel on “Hollister” shapes a gigantic streamlined metallic spaceship-you can listen to it ascend and descend by turns. If this suggests anything at all pulp, the result is anything but. “Seduction” for pedal steel and percussion comes across as celestial cymbalons. “Betrayal” is an abstract gong-filled temple of the imagination. This is the most various and impressive Chas Smith record I’ve ever heard. His palette is broader and the resonances are deeper.