Artful Dodgers – Three Story Sandbox (ENG review)

Jazz moderne
Artful Dodgers – Three Story Sandbox

Here is an album that you won’t hear on Bayou Blue Radio, simply because it doesn’t align with our programming. Nevertheless, culturally, it’s a marvelous album, a kind of music meant to be experienced and enjoyed live. From my perspective, it doesn’t make much sense in a recording format where we lose the full intellectual engagement of the listener/viewer.
Both vocally and musically, we’re dealing with top-tier artists here. In fact, it’s not really a jazz album but rather a purely intellectual concept, a deep exploration rooted in contemporary classical music. “Three Story Sandbox,” featuring guest artist violinist Mark Feldman, continues the inventive and delightfully musical free improvisation heard on its first release, “Three Story Sandbox” (Tall Grass Records, 2016). This project followed “Snakeheads & Ladybugs” (2014), a brilliant album of improvised duets by two jazz master musicians, drummer Jack Mouse and multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson, which received high acclaim. Their musical compatibility, proficient in all jazz styles, is vividly captured. The role of the violin here is that of a narrator, while the voice serves as that of an actor/singer, sometimes joyful, sometimes inquisitive, sometimes dancing, like a breath of life. Conversations unfold between voices and instruments, undoubtedly compelling the listener to reflect on themselves, their way of experiencing art, the arts. This isn’t an easy work, nor is it for everyone. To access it, one needs a certain cultural background, a habit of engaging with this kind of proposition. This album is more of a calling card for festival programmers than something you’d listen to at home, as we sorely lack the performance space to fully appreciate it – to see the movements and feel the vitality…
The voice belongs to Janice Borla, commanding and precise, impossible to ignore, much like the violin. I can only recommend attending this group’s concerts; they will undoubtedly be unforgettable moments.
Given the difficulty of understanding and potentially getting into this album, we’ve labeled it as a “Coup de Cœur” (favorite). This creation is met with varying degrees of appreciation within the editorial teams of Bayou Blue Radio and Paris-Move. But when art becomes a question, it’s almost certain that the creators have succeeded in their endeavors.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, August 23rd 2023


To buy this album 

1. Twin Rivers 03:25
2. Kalahari Crossing 04:33
3. Slip ‘n’ Slide 03:39
4. Brush Dance 02:39
5. Kamakura 05:32
6. Second Line Strut 04:08
7. Tears for Ukraine 07:41
8. Outback Inn 05:13
9. Birth of a Rainbow 02:04
10. Artful Dodgers 02:42
11. Slapshot 02:24
12. The Other Side of the Moon 02:49
13. Fiddle Sticks 04:01

Released August 18, 2023