Nate Radley

Puzzle People

Guitarist Vic Juris (1953–2019) and his trio with bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Adam Nussbaum played a regular gig at the 55 Bar on the first Sunday of every month. After Juris’ passing, the engagement continued with different guitarists; Nate Radley was the first to fill in.

Puzzle People is an unofficial tribute to Juris although more in spirit than in fact. While Radley uses his rhythm section, the guitarist has a complementary but different sound and style. The repertoire that he interprets only contains one number (“Golden Earrings”) that Juris played and consists of four standards and five of Radley’s originals. No matter, the music is quite rewarding.

The set begins with a country tinge. Roger Miller’s “Invitation To The Blues” sets a relaxed and bluesy mood that pervades most of the songs. The feeling continues during Radley’s 24-bar blues “Sing Sing Overkill,” which features a chordal melody and a dancing bass line.

Things pick up a bit during the second half of the set, starting with the blues-with-a-bridge piece “Kamikaze Frisbee.” “Golden Earrings,” which is taken in 5/4 time, features the trio at its best with Radley engaging in close interplay with Anderson and Nussbaum.

“Puzzle People” is fairly free in spots and has a stretch where Radley and Nussbaum engage in a playful duet.

“Bubble Trouble” effectively disguises the chord changes of “Gone With The Wind,” while “Horseless Headman” wraps up the satisfying set with a quietly effective melody statement.

On Sale Now
February 2023
Lakecia Benjamin
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