This January 2008 studio session displays the foursome in a program of standards and Sandke originals. "Ev'rytime We Say Goodbye" is pure beauty as bassist Parrott unveils her intimate voice over sensitive fills by Sandke. Reminds me somewhat of Blossom Dearie. Parrott sings again on Hoagy's traditional "New Orleans" which also includes sparkling solos by Sandke and Alden. Among the other standards are the group's Latin treatment of Bill Evans's " Funkallero" and a happy romp through Jobim's "Chega de Saudade." Sandke, once a guitarist, honors Django with his lyrics to "Django's Dream" a haunting Debussy composition which some may remember as "My Reverie."
The originals are interesting and accessible. "Meta Blue" updates the blues form. "December Down" is a moody piece with an early winter feeling. "Nicki's Journey," lively yet impressionistic, allows Parrott to meld voice and plucked bass, and features subtle drumming by Riley. Sandke, on flugelhorn, salutes his baby son with "Little Bix" and the session closes with one tender chorus of Victor Herbert's "Toyland" with Sandke accompanied only by Alden's guitar.
Sandke refuses to be categorized. He is well-regarded in traditional jazz circles. He played for Goodman. His heroes are Bix, Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie. He has this to say about "metatonality," the concept behind his current improvisations and compositions: " Metatonal music is music that is harmonically derived, as is tonal music, yet uses different harmonies in a different way...However, it is my sincere desire that those who hear it respond on an emotional level first before even considering the technical aspect of how this music is put together."
No problem! Randy Sandke's Unconventional Wisdom is superb cooking by a master chef and you don't have to know his recipe to enjoy your meal.