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Kind Words

“Jim Beard is one of the best examples that I can think of of a young musician who is familiar and well-versed in the jazz language but is also committed to the spirit of adventure and discovery that is essential for the form to keep moving. In Jims case, his restless search for new sounds and compositional environments and a fearless approach to using and blending the newest innovations in musical instrument and studio technology leads him into always dangerous and ultimately rewarding territory. He is one of the few people around whose insight into the past is complete enough to take him to the future, and with a highly refined and subtle musicality at work, he is one musician from whom I always await each new release with anticipation”
        Pat Metheny, March 2, 1997

"One of the freshest musical points of view around"
        David Sanborn

"This is the kind of music you live for and hope to play"
        Toots Thielemans

"One of the most exciting music makers in the genre of post-fusion music"

“...thoroughly enjoyable ...  unique, creative, refreshing, witty, and quirky in a likable way. The compositions strike just the right balance between being interesting and intelligent for concentrated analytical listening, and being light and listenable enough for casual listening”.
        David Hughes

“deliciously askew....twisted, yet pretty..surprisingly hooky compositions which are easy to be drawn into and difficult to forget”
        JazzTimes Magazine

“...warped, catchy tunes with clever arrangements and tasty solos....A brainy party favor”. Rating: A
        Entertainment Weekly

"The music on this album is almost impossible to categorize, but one possible label might be "post-modernist" fusion; "post-modernist" in the sense that Jim Beard manages to incorporate a dizzying variety of musical styles, eras, devices, timbres, riffs, and cliches into a suprisingly coherent, masterfully wrought and totally LISTENABLE end product. On the surface the CD is a hodge-podge of styles, but repeated listenings reveal it to be a meticulously crafted and even occasionally brilliant musical statement. His mastery of studio technique combined with an uncanny instinct for taking simple ideas and imbuing them with deeper harmonic and rhythmic beauty (a la Bach's treatment of chorale tunes)is one of the most delightful aspects of this album. I nearly fell off my chair when I heard the blatantly corny "Dooly-wop" chorus of the opening track. But to my amazement, the track works amazingly well, thanks to the subtle harmonic nudges he includes throughout. Beard manages to infuse jazz-fusion with something it seriously lacks: a sense of humor. This aspect of Beard's latest work is somewhat of a surprise. I knew Jim Beard slightly when I was in graduate school many years ago, and back then he struck me as a very serious jazz pianist with a love for synthesizers and diverse styles of music. His evident love of synthesizers (including the "old-fashioned" timbres of the earlier models, the Moog, etc.) is evident in this album. The goofy, post-modernist sense of humor came as a pleasant surprise to me. (Check out the CD cover and titles, for instance.) One final note: Jim Beard is probably one of the most under-rated pianists of his generation, partly because he subsumes his wonderful touch, his harmonic mastery, and his technique into the music itself. He obviously works more as a composer and a craftsman of sounds---much like Zawinul in this way---but his piano playing is truly wonderful and stands on its own (like Zawinul's). This album is, if nothing else, a lot of fun. For what it's worth, my 2-year-old daughter loves it. "
        D. Moser, Beijing Web review (re: "Truly")

"Jim Beard is my favorite keyboard player....... besides myself"
        Joe Zawinul

...”that rare and wondrous thing, a fusion record that epitomizes all
that is right about the genre and excludes all that’s bad...funky and
fun filled.”
        Joe Woodard

Jim Beard is the most important jazz keyboardist to emerge in the last 30 years or so….. His touch is subtle, his compositional sense refined, his sense of swing profound. His solos sound as though they're through-composed (which they aren't). Jim Beard is the only keyboardist I know of who can manipulate synthesizers to make them sound organic, instead of cheesy and dated. And his chops are SICK! Yet people persist in mistaking his work for fuzak. Get some ears, people! Just because this music sounds pretty instead of harsh and dissonant (for the record, I love dissonance), doesn't mean it isn't intellectually rigorous. Jim Beard is a contrarian, a subversive……. He deliberately uses unfashionable references, like 70s pop and circus music as source material for his compositions. Listen carefully and you'll be rewarded with challenging tunes, tastefully intricate orchestrations and gorgeous improvisisations.
      A. Kydonieus (San Francisco, CA)

Jim Beard grooves hard. I have had the good fortune to hear this record as well as a few others by Mr. Beard and a funkier, more tasteful rebellious, wonderful pianist does not exist...Hat's off to the Mr. Wizard...More...I want More       
        Bruce Gaitsch (Nashville, TN), March 22, 2000

Pianist/composer Jim Beard applies his masterful hand as an arranger to this collection of delightful oddities. "Step Inside," with its "Big Bad Wolf" piano melody over a drum machine leads us down a couple of blind alleys, then opens onto a sparkling piano solo, while "Pumpkin Fat" features Bill Evans's spiraling soprano saxophone over a bed of piquant woodwind chords. Beard seems more interested in suggestion and nuance than in overt display of piano pyrotechnics. Best of all, it's funny without being slapstick--instruments appear then drop out, key changes come and go, songs drift off without announcing the end. LOST AT THE CARNIVAL suggest a meeting of Groucho Marx and Miles Davis, or perhaps Errol Garner and Stravinsky. Beard has a deft partner in crime in guitarist Jon Herington, who would go on to record memorably with Steely Dan, among others. Herington contributes stinging, economical leads and rhythm work that owes as much to Freddie Green as Steve Cropper. Favorite moment: the intro to "Holiday," a barrelhouse piano lick that leads to an abrupt key change. Like the rest of LOST AT THE CARNIVAL, it's refreshing.
        VH 1 Review


Undescribably entertaining....

....if you're a fan of buzz.... intelligence.... humor.... the gifted.... experimental.... groove... the new.... the whimsical.... the surprise.... the extreme opposite to boredom/complacency.... reverence... irreverence... virtuosity.... hip... transporting.... happy... cosmopolitan.... big city/far away magical places [at the same time, no less].... Zappa without the arrogance/attitude...

then, buy this CD....


it may just save your life
        Reviewer: "professionalopinion" (Florida) , August 23, 2003

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