Here Nor There,
(Mumbrella Records, 1998)

I just love it when I get free music. But it's even better when the free music is good. Here Nor There's debut CD, Conversations, is one of those free goodies!

The New Jersey acoustic trio consists of Joe Isgro (fretless bass), Mark Murphy (guitar, vocals, sax) and Annalee Van Kleeck (guitar, vocals, clarinet). The album, recorded live in the studio, captures the energy and playfulness of the group.

The ten original songs on the CD all have stellar points. Isgro's fantastic fretless bass-playing provides an intricate background to the lyrics, while Kleeck adds haunting clarinet fills on "Majesty." The album opens with a swinging, jitterbug rhythm on "No Cover;" Kleeck's and Murphy's voices blend seamlessly for this lyrical romp. Kleeck comes back for a couple of sultry solos on "I Didn't Know" and "Something."

The lyrics are all first-rate, especially on the title track: "And by chance I see you on the street and you say I don't look so good / Not as good as I used to, not as good as you think I should, well / I'd like to say there haven't been days that I've been less strong / but then it all hits me our conversations never last so long."

Conversations features a nice variety of songs, combining flamenco, bluegrass and blues elements. The musicians perform well as a trio, keeping the energy of a live set alive in a studio recording.

[ by Audrey M. Clark ]

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