Clint Hoover

Clint Hoover - Dream of the Serpent Dog

It is a rare pleasure to listen to an album that exudes a genuine atmosphere, a link beyond the music itself that carries you through the tracks to what the music means rather than how it's played.

This album by Clint Hoover is amongst those. Not a virtuoso opus, not a harmonica lesson, just a delight to the ear. Jazz often suffers from being difficult to listen to, but it isn't the case of this jazz. Jim Chenoweth's double bass, Bobby E.'s guitar and Clint Hoover's chromatic blend into an atmosphere ; the cover art and the titles suggest that it could avoque meso-american deities lost in a contemporary world.

Enough of big words : what do you find in this album ? Well first of all, catchy melodies, be it ballads (the bewitching 'Easy Dreams') or more uptempo pieces (like 'The Schlepp' where hard driving solos lead to the theme played as a canon by the whole band !) Some tracks remind me of World Jazz, like 'Ripley's Waltz' that begins with a long arabic solo by Clint Hoover, delicately supported by arco bass.

Hoover plays mainly chromatic on 'Dream of the Serpent Dog', but the only track where he plays diatonic is worth examining : 'Snake Oil' is a slow piece where the double bass takes a secondary and discreet role. The blend of guitar and harp evokes mexico, and the subtle percussion really enhance Clint's superb diatonic playing. And for those who think that the diatonic can't be used for jazz, well this piece simply could not have been played on chromatic...

Ever since I have received this album, it visits my CD player at least once a week. It is at the same time easy to get into and full of surprises. I can only encourage you to get it as fast as you can : for love of jazz, of harmonica, or just of beautiful music...

Benoît Felten

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