Originally published in Earshot Jazz June 2017
Pearl Django continues a 22 year success story with its 13th recording, With Friends Like These. Coincidentally, 13 original songs fill the program, with contributions by each of the musicians - bassist Rick Leppanen, violinist Michael Gray, accordionist David Lange, guitarist Neil Andersson, and guitarist Tim Lerch.
With a fan base stretching to 90 countries and sales of over 120,000 disks and downloads, the "Mighty Engine of Rhythm," as dubbed by KNKX DJ Dick Stein, chugs along with no audible signs of slowing down. Smooth, swinging arrangements will get toes tapping along with this well oiled ensemble. Conventional chord progressions are tweaked with sophistication, but there's no need for seat belts on this Sunday drive through the sylvan countryside. The overall sound is harmonious, relaxing, and fun -- perfect accompaniment to an enjoyable hour with a glass or two of your favorite libation. The clean tones of each instrument blend like old friends. In fact, Lerch's title track is based on the chord progression of the standard "Just Friends."
Lerch is new to the group, but his contribution is already significant. He penned the opening, closing, and title track. The other guitarist, Andersson, was a founding member. The comfortable mix of old and new underlines the timeless quality of musical gems mined by this outstanding Seattle troupe.
Visit http://www.pearldjango.com/ to read more about Pearl Django.