[Harp-L] In Review: PT Gazell: A Madness to the Method

Paul Messinger paul@xxxxx
Sun Jul 3 21:58:16 EDT 2016


PT Gazell:  A Madness to the Method, by Paul Messinger


PT Gazell's new project, A Madness to the Method, is his first solo release
in 5 years.  


Since his seminal solo effort, "Pace Yourself", followed by his D.B.
Cooper-like disappearance, to his 2005 reappearance with "Swingin' Easy .
Hittin' Hard, to 2012's "2 Days Out", each new PT Gazell solo release can be
viewed as a musical, as well as instrumental re-invention.  


The instrumental part is obvious as instead of choosing to dine off the
menu, he instead decided that none of the available instrumental options
(Column A or B or C . or diatonic, diatonic with overbends, or chromatic)
fit the contours of his musical palette.  So, he instead created his own
instrument, the Gazell-Method, half-valved diatonic.  


The musical part takes a little more imagination, as some of the ground he's
covered seems identifiable enough.  However, in creating his own instrument
(though not the actual inventor of the theory behind the instrument, it's
unarguable that he has created an entirely original path for it), he by
definition then had to create a new sonic-idea of what that instrument could
become, as well as create an entirely new pathway for the next generation of
players to follow.


Which brings us to his new release, "A Madness to the Method" .


I'll first argue that, as clever as the title is, there is no madness to the
method.  Instead, to this listener's ears, it is plainly apparent that PT
Gazell has just plain figured out what this instrument is supposed to sound
like, what it is capable of delivering in his chosen musical genre, and has
just plain delivered it.


It's said that Benny Goodman, the King of Swing, had no instrumental (or
racial or ethnic) bias . in that spirit, he integrated the electric guitar
(Charlie Christian) and vibes (Lionel Hampton) into his sonic-palette, and
thus into the musical tradition of Swing.   

There is no question in my mind that, had PT Gazell and his half-valved
diatonic been around during that time, Benny Goodman would have embraced
both the player and the instrument . because PT Gazell swings that hard .  


That's pretty much the whole point I'm going to make about this recording . 


If you as a player want to learn how to swing, or you as a listener want
music that SWINGS with an original instrument by an original player . then,
listen to "A Madness to the Method", and geek out . 

PT Gazell is a straight-ahead cat . In the tradition of Louis Jordan (whom
he covers on two tracks here), he brings it straight-ahead, no
(metaphorical) musical chasers.  I'd like to think that part of that is
because his chosen instrument is, after all, (though it has a
hybrid-chromatic-like quality at times) a diatonic harmonica.  


Diatonic players should especially note that the way PT Gazell plays, the
phrasing, the way he identifies changes, is a revelation to understanding
the possibilities how to play the instrument.  If you, as a player, want to
expand your technique on the diatonic, this is the music (and this is the
player) you want (and need) to listen to.  


He approaches these tunes in a linear though lyrical manner that you
flat-out will understand . and whether you develop expanded technique with
overbends or the Gazell-Method Seydell diatonic, you'll understand how the
diatonic can structure these kinds of songs, and you will flat-out improve
as a player .  



s=1> A Madness To The Method



 <http://www.ptgazell.com> www.ptgazell.com










Paul Messinger



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