The Wire (8/99, p.48) - "...in this strange blending of ragtime, cakewalk and vaudville hoofing and mugging, Caine has structured and delivered the revivalist record to beat them all..."
Down Beat (2/00, p.64) - 3.5 out of 5 - "...an atmospheric stroll through the time-tested tunes of Tin Pan Alley...an endlessly intriguing exploration of a type of roots music rarely given such elaborate and expert attention..."
JazzTimes (12/99, p.154) - "...creates an aural landscape in tribute to the Tin Pan Alley song factory, replete with the clankety patter of a saloon setting and sonic street ambiance, emphasizing the bustling urban environment out of which Tin Pan's creative fervor grew..."
Personnel includes: Uri Caine (vocals, piano); Dominic Cortese (vocals, accordion); Ralph Alessi, Dave Douglas (trumpet); Josh Roseman (trombone); Bob Stewart (tuba); Bob DeBellis (flute); Don Byron (clarinet); Eddy Davis (banjo); Mark Feldman (violin); James Genus (bass); Ben Perowsky (drums).
Personnel: Uri Caine (vocals, piano); Dominic Cortese (vocals, accordion); Stuart Zagnit, Paul Hernandez, Sadiq Bey, Nancy Opel, Nancy Anderson, Barbara Walker (vocals); Eddy Davis (banjo); Mark Feldman (violin); Robert DeBellis (flute); Don Byron (clarinet); Ralph Alessi, Dave Douglas (trumpet); Josh Roseman (trombone); Bob Stewart (tuba); Ben Perowsky (drums).
Recording information: Avatar Studios, New York, NY (02/04/1999-02/10/1999); Bauer Studios, Ludwigsburg, Germany (02/04/1999-02/10/1999); Central Park, New York, NY (02/04/1999-02/10/1999); Roof Garden, Gramercy Park Hotel, New York, NY (02/04/1999-02/10/1999).
Director: Uri Caine.
Editor: Adrian von Ripka.
Pianist Uri Caine's work is always intriguing, but this CD is something very different. Sidewalks of New York comes off like the soundtrack to an as yet unmade documentary about Tin Pan Alley at the turn of the century, complete with sound effects of horses and people on the street, folks celebrating in a rowdy saloon, and so on. "The Sidewalks of New York" serves as a recurring theme, first as a dreamy solo by Caine, later with Ralph Alessi's distant trumpet, and finally in a bar with a determined singer. Other familiar pieces include Eubie Blake's still challenging "Charleston Rag," a low-fidelity "Memphis Blues" that's made to sound as if it's being played on an ancient Victrola, and the timeless "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." There are some hilarious, long forgotten pieces like "Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?" and Irving Berlin's whimsical "Cohen Owes Me Ninety Seven Dollars"; as well as revivals of once popular but now long forgotten tunes like the tear jerking "After the Ball" and the draggy narrative "Nobody." The talented supporting cast includes clarinetist Don Byron, trumpeter Dave Douglas, and violinist Mark Feldman. As a concept package complete with period photographs, Sidewalks is very successful, but the numerous sound effects make repeated listening a little more difficult. Perhaps Caine should introduce himself to documentary maker Ken Burns and suggest a Tin Pan Alley project. ~ Ken Dryden