jimvick.combo/Jim Vick
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jimvick.combo/Jim Vick

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The best kept secret in music

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"jimvick.combo Surfing the Web of Life"

Surfing the Web of Life, jimvick.combo's ("Jim Vick dot Combo") debut album, goes far beyond the definition of "album," attaining a status something closer to a socio-political manifesto set to an eclectic blend of folky jazz with a solid dose of world rhythms. Or, as Vick writes on his web site, "...styles ranging from Afropop to reggae to Bossa Nova, mixed with elements of jazz, R&B, and American roots music." I have to agree with his take, and I must say this makes for one impressive listening experience. But while the music itself is top notch by anyone's measure, what really makes this album shine is Vick's issue-oriented lyrics.

"The Norm" starts things off with an emphatic statement, "...the norm, it just ain't normal anymore." Any armchair philosopher worth his mettle will see the truth inherent in those words. And it doesn't stop there. In one track after another, for a total of 13 songs, Vick wows us with vignettes of life as he sees it, artfully framed by the instrumental and vocal virtuosity of him and his fellow band members: his daughter, Elisa; bassist/producer/songwriter Rob Moitoza; and, drummer/percussionist Dan Ochipinti.

From "A Thousand Waves," with its upbeat face-the-storm-and-ride-it-out message to the satirical "Good Germans," with its stance against the social apathy that plagues our culture, Vick shares his philosophy of life. In "Ship Of Love," a fun, folksy romp, he waxes romantic, and in "Tilt" he professes his politics, disagreeing with our president's eye-for-an-eye agenda. "Chocolates And Roses" and "She Carries The Moment" are poignant tales of spousal and child abuse. I'll leave it to you to decide on the message of "Blood On The Chalkboard."

While every song is a standout in its own right, my pick is "Our Lady." The hooky guitar intro on this tune immediately caught my attention and held it until Vick went in a completely unexpected direction in the verses before bringing it right back around again. And I simply cannot end this review without commenting upon the high quality of production, recording and mixing. Not often do you hear such professionalism in a self-produced work. Ochipinti, assisted by Moitoza, engineered the tracks and Vick, Moitoza and Ochipinti produced and mixed the album. Without question, Surfing the Web of Life earns the distinction of "Ear Candy" and will take its rightful place at the top of that stack in my indie music collection. And it's going to spend a lot of time spinning in my CD player, too.

Kenny Hart - Indie-Music.com


Discography

jimvick.combo:
Surfing the Web of Life - LP
Freedom Fries - single

Jim Vick:
In the Garden - LP

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Singer-songwriter/guitarist Jim Vick and his vocalist daughter, Elisa Vick, formed jimvick.combo in early 2000 with Jim's longtime musical collaborators Dan Ochipinti and Rob Moitoza. Combining early influences ranging from Lennon & McCartney to Stevie Wonder with the more contemporary sounds of Bruce Cockburn and Habib Koite, Jim's writing is known for risk-taking, issue-oriented lyrics and equally adventurous musical twists. Whether ranting against the Empire or pointing out guideposts on the Roadmap of Love, his songs combine decidedly left-leaning philosophical musings with an eclectic musical style that incorporates elements of jazz, folk, blues, and global grooves ranging from African pop to bossa nova. A veteran of over 2 decades of performing with numerous rock, folk and world music acts, Jim has opened concerts for Joan Armatrading, HR, Booker T & the MGs, and Timbuk 3. After moving to Seattle in the early 90’s, he soon joined forces with bassist/producer/songwriter Moitoza, known for his work with the Sons of Champlin, Holly Near, Cold Blood, and other leftcoast luminaries; and Ochipinti, a first-call drummer/percussionist for numerous NW world music acts such as Heather Alexander, the Gaia Consort, Urban Bushmen, and Le’Orchestra Afrisound. The group was chosen by the King County Arts Roster beginning in 2001 and has been a featured act at numerous summer festivals, concerts, and progressive political events in the Pacific Northwest area, including the Rolling Thunder Democracy Festival, the Art of Resistance Conference, and the NW Folklife Festival.