Music Reviews

Raffi Garabedian

The Crazy Dog

Raffi Garabedian The Crazy Dog

Raffi Garabedian

Formats available: Download, CD

The Crazy Dog is a strange title of a very unusual album. It is an attempt by tenor saxophonist Raffi Garabedian to create a musical vehicle for exploring his family’s past. A short album with a series of jazz compositions drawing inspiration from letters written by his paternal grandparents, who fled Armenia during the first world war, as well as his father’s historical fiction inspired by the family’s experience of migrating to the USA.

But this heady and in places very dour inspiration need not strike fear or consternation in the minds of the would-be listeners, especially if standard jazz wets their musical taste buds. The Crazy Dog is an album of gentle tracks, sweet melodious captivating music performed by a vocalist and musicians whose performance will draw a gentle smile regardless of the lyrics.

The Crazy Dog is a super short affair, at just under 38 minutes it is one of the shortest offerings ever featured on The-Ear. Those minutes are made all the more pleasant by a fairly large ensemble featuring:

Raffi Garabedian – tenor saxophone, voice on Three Gold Liras, Danielle Wertz – voice, Jonathan Beshay – flute, tenor saxophone, Ben Goldberg – clarinet, Danny Lubin-Laden – trombone, Dierk Peters – vibraphone, glockenspiel, Rashaan Carter – electric bass, Sean Mullins – drums, percussion.

The tunes are melodious and most are straight jazz, with references to 1920s era jazz in some of them. Danielle Wartz is sometimes leading and sometimes joining in a style and a voice that’s reminiscent of Astrud Gilberto. There’s no prominent lead in any of the tracks and ample opportunity for all to demonstrate their talents throughout this gentle album.

The recording sounded accurate if slightly compressed, but as the review sample was only MP3, it is highly likely that the digital version at CD quality (44.1/16) is likely to sound great on most systems.

The Crazy Dog is an unexpectedly lovely musical surprise, a very highly recommended album. You can listen to tracks and purchase the album via Raffi Garabedian’s Bandcamp portal.

Reuben Klein

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