Between the Seasons is a new CD by Oregon composer, J. Michael Kearsey; a vital participant in Oregon’s music scene for many years. His first LP, Suite for the Columbia Gorge from 1984 assisted the Friends of the Columbia Gorge in creating the Gorge National Scenic Area in 1986.
His music for movies and television has been in Brazilian, Middle Eastern, Jazz, Country and Folk modes, and all these influences are evident on this sumptuous disc as it joyously careens from style to style, always maintaining a musical melodic thread and pulse that can only be Kearsey’s. The instrumentation on these thirteen tracks feature guitar, piano, fiddle, mandolin, trumpet, flute, sax, pedal steel, kanoon and oud, and the arrangements and performances are splendid.
The songs are contagious too. Jumpin Fish Waltz is a most ebullient soundtrack to something; Tarpaper Mansion, a smoking hot tribute to trumpeter Lee Morgan and mid-century Jazz; Riverborne features Dave Grafe’s evocative pedal steel; Quiltman is named for Quiltman Sahme, the traditional American Indian singer and drummer from Warm Springs, Oregon who for years performed with John Trudell and Bad Dog. It segues quite naturally into the expansive Samarqand, evoking the ancient Asian city with oud, kanoon and drum.
Kearsey began his music career in Boston, forming Under Milkwood with pre-Cars Ric Ocasek. He came to Portland, as a founding member of UPEPO, then the Rockin’ Razorbacks, and joined the Brothers of the Baladi, playing bass, and producing eight of their twelve recordings.
As composer, Kearsey has scored five public television programs including Oregon Portraits I and II. He is an active member of Portland Music Association, Portland FolkMusic Society and the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.
Between the Seasons is available at Music Millennium and record stores everywhere, and online at CD Baby. Find out more at jmichaelkearsey.com