i’ll meet you half way out in the middle of it all

Rick Rivera /trap set
Thollem McDonas /voice and piano

From the fringes of the various musical genres comes great music; that is a fact of common experience. It is not less true that, when the artists are talented, the results are able to exceed our highest expectations. Our anticipation that this is true for the present case is based on two factors.

First is the source of the original product: the San Francisco Bay Area in California,the land that, through the independent music scene that has flourished on the West Coast in the last ten to fifteen years, has brought us a wide variety of musical projects disconnected from the strictures of large recording companies.

The other reason stems from the fact that this disk uses only piano, voice, and drums, a combination sufficiently simple and with past results that have been sufficiently interesting that it provokes an irrepressible curiosity to know what new thing Thollem McDonas and Rick Rivera have brought us in “I’ll Meet You Half Way Out In the Middle of It All,” which is billed as a combination of World, Pop, Punk and Jazz music. In truth, that which comes immediately to the ear is the energy and intensity of rock, as well as the rebel attitude and sweet/ sour voice of McDonas, who sings verses woven between a complex mesh improvised from piano and drums, all of which is minutely precise and yet remains totally free and unexpected. A very impressive work!

It is not enough to recognize the pressured sense of drama of the songs. Each one is a small original work harmonically, melodically and rhythmically minimalist, not in the musicological sense of the word, but in the sense of disposing with all that is not essential for a direct and effective communication with the inner ear. The simple play between words and music (and it is so difficult to make it simple!) render all elements in a happy combination:

great class, freshness, inventiveness, and impact. A recording such as this should have ample publication through adequate avenues of distribution; the opposite is actually the case. Lamentably, it will only be known by a small circle of a few happy devotees, which elect fortunately includes me. Eduardo Chagas