Too Much To Do
Nick La Riviere
Reviewed by Jeremiah Sutherland
If Nick La Riviere’s debut release Too Much to Do were a person, you’d want it sitting next to you on plane trip because it’s just so darn entertaining. The album is exuberant, multi-faceted, humorous, outgoing and just fun to be around.
La Riviere has worked hard to present previously penned songs in a new light, while showcasing his own songwriting skills. He’s not necessarily breaking any new ground; just carefully and cleverly reworking what’s already out there. This means that the music is accessible for casual jazz fans, while still being of interest to the educated fan or trained musician.
Speaking of musicians, some of the biggest names in West Coast jazz, including Ross Taggart(piano), Jodi Proznick (bass) and Jesse Cahill (drums) lend their skills to this effort. La Riviere plays excellent trombone (and conch shell) on this release and did all the arrangements as well as writing four of the nine tunes.
Interestingly La Riviere also incorporates strings (Cam Wilson and Julian Vitek: violins; Peggy Lee: cello) as key members of the group, writing complex parts for them (as opposed to the typical ‘sweetener” often used in popular music). The end result is very much like the work of Stephan Grappelli.
Kudos to the recording engineer and post-production folks. This is a very well recorded CD. Everything fits beautifully on the acoustic stage and all the instruments come through sweet and clear.
LaRiviere’s album is a well-crafted gem in all respects. Properly promoted and supported, there’s no reason why the CD shouldn’t be showing up in a lot of places.
– Jeremiah Sutherland