This weekend I had an experience that has changed my life in several ways. My good friends and I had the pleasure of hosting Julie Slick, Tim Motzer, and Dejha Ti in a pair of house concerts referred to as the “House Concert Tour 2012.” I think it’s not going too far to say this trio used time, space, sound, and light to rearrange the listener’s neurotransmitters and bend their minds to their will.
A little background: Julie Slick, many will know, is the young bass player tapped by Adrian Belew for his Power Trio, along with her brother, drum wizard Eric. She has since toured with the ABPT several times and in the past two years has also shared the bottom end of the Crimson Projekt sextet with Tony Levin. She is in the process of releasing her second solo album, “Terroir.”
Tim Motzer is an amazing guitarist, arranger, and producer. He has released a large catalog of discs of a variety of music via his 1krecordings.com, based in Philadelphia. One that has caught the ear of Crimson fans is the brilliant “Goldbug,” featuring Theo Travis and one Eric Slick.
The trio brought to Central Virginia an interesting mix of tunes. The two nights’ sets largely overlapped with a couple of standout differences. The material was drawn partly from “Terroir,” partly from two weeks of writing and rehearsals with Mr. Motzer preceding the “tour,” and partly from on-the-spot improvisations. And, of course, while the material overlapped, the two nights performances differed because the duo also improvised within the tunes that they played.
One of the highlights of both nights was a King Crimson favorite, “One Time,” beautifully rendered. The duo arrangement of this tune was spacious and yet intense, with both Julie and Tim giving a workout to their sonic palettes, and trading off providing the rhythmic and melodic pulses. This was a theme throughout the evening as I would pull myself out of the reverie that the music had placed me in to find Tim playing the “bass part” while Julie provided the lead. Some of the new material that was developed in their rehearsals – Pity and Slow Roast.
On Saturday night, or maybe early Sunday morning, we were gifted with the Virginia Premier of “Terroir.” It was amazing to hear the difference between this album and Julie’s first. This listening also revealed how much room there is for the songs to breathe and grow. Those that were played over the weekend - Even the Tide Recedes, Pi, and Kismet - while structurally the same, were also qualitatively different, with both Julie and Tim adding nuances to the recorded versions. It was clear that Julie is maturing in her artistry, as even while she releases the new material she is continuing to refine it.
Oh, and did I mention that while she staged an amazing video/light extravaganza accompanying the music, Dejha Ti also recorded a 4-camera shoot? Yes. She did. And video of both nights in Central Virginia will be available as a digital download from 1krecordings and julieslick.com.