Personnel: Kevin Deitz (accordion, acoustic bass, electric bass, fretless bass, claves, shaker); John Stowell (guitar); Tim Jensen (flute); Warren Rand (alto saxophone); Renato Caranto (tenor saxophone); Paul Mazzio (trumpet, flugelhorn); Steve Canon, Steve Cannon, Andy Fuller (trumpet); Tony Pacini, George Mitchell (piano); Mike Horsfall (vibraphone, drums, shaker); Mike Snyder (drums, congas, shaker, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Bob Stark .
Recording information: Kung Fu Bakery (09/28/2005-07/03/2008); Lois' Laundry, Portland, OR (09/28/2005-07/03/2008).
Photographer: Todd Bishop.
Bassist Kevin Deitz had been on the Portland jazz scene for decades prior to Skylines, but always as a sideman. With Skylines, he took his first shot as a bandleader, calling on a number of Portland jazz notables to form a set of rotating quartets. The compositions, all penned by Deitz, are strong entries. Anchored by a bubbling bassline from Deitz himself, the pieces borrow liberally from the classics, but add new twists in composition while retaining mood elements from their forebears. "Sunny Side Up" gets a good infusion from "Sunny Side of the Street"; "Uncle Ray" has notes from "Caravan." The band handles them ably, extracting modern nightclub improvisations from them with hardly a blink. The musicians are at their best when reclaiming bop and post-bop territory, with the alternating pianos of Tony Pacini and George Mitchell providing thick layers of sound for the rest of the band to surround. When the group strays into Latin and more contemporary formats, a little of the magic is occasionally lost, but is often regained by the next song. While the rhythm section tends to form a strong core, it's the solos -- Tim Jensen's flute, Mike Horsfall's vibes -- that grab the listener at unexpected moments. Deitz's sound should only get clearer as he develops his compositions further, and there's plenty to expect on future releases. ~ Adam Greenberg