Cure-All Records is pleased to release the debut recording of Flounder, an instrumental quartet combining the freewheeling groove and grit of mid-century blues and jazz with the intimacy and instrumental interplay of chamber music. This release marks a significant point for the group, a culmination of two years worth of composing and performing a wealth of original material, specifically written by composer and guitarist David Dvorin for the group’s unique instrumentation. Combining both retro and futuristic timbres, the release blends playful rhythmic feel along with bold exploration of harmony and texture.
David Dvorin • guitar, modular synthesizer
Randy McKean • bass clarinet, tenor saxophone
Tim Bulkley • drums
Clifford Childers • bass trumpet, trombone, harmonica, euphonium
and special guest
Jonah Dvorin • percussion on "El Cangrejo"
Recorded January 2020 at Ray Barker Studios, Chico, CA by Dann Sargent, assisted by Edson Cruz
Mixed and Produced by David Dvorin
Mastered at Headless Buddha Lab, Oakland, CA, by Myles Boisen
Flounder illustration by Tim Bulkley
"A playful spirit is ever present in this constantly engaging set. Regardless of mood swings and atmospheric shifts, this California quartet, led by accomplished composer and guitarist David Dvorin, continuously transmits a sense of the pleasure of music-making.
The atypical lineup of guitar, brass, reeds and drums perhaps lends itself to a degree of quirkiness and the angularity with which the leadoff track, also the title track, begins supports this notion. This further translates well into the aptly-titled “Hard Luck Blues”.
Track-to-track contrasts heighten the attraction here. The apocalyptic energy of “Space Age” gives way to the easy-going, waltz-timed “Trick Knee”, fol- lowed by the dusky, delicate “Persistence Blues”. This is chamber jazz of a highly eclectic nature and worth the effort to run it down."
- Duane Verh, Jazz & Blues Magazine
"Nice set of angular jazz by some young cats clearly living in the modern world. Skanking along kind of like acid Brecker Brothers (hmm, just invented a new genre?), it might have a stripped down feel but it feels like it's all there."
- Midwest Record Review
• • • • •
"The fishy team of flounder has scaled down to David Dvorin/g- synth, Randy McKean/bcl-ts, Tim Bulkley/dr, Clifford Childers/tb- bsp-eu-harm and special guppy Jonah (could I make that name up?) Dvorin/perc.
McKean’s deep and resonant bass clarinet works wonders as he strolls with Childers’ trombone on “I’m the Flounder” and clippety clops with Dvorin on “El Cangrejo”. Some guitar effects make for an echoey “Cut Strings” while the bluesy “Sucker Punch” has Childers playing sounds with his mouthpiece, also hovering like an aircraft before takeof on the artsy “Space Age”. The team rocks out Chuck Berry style on “People Moving, People Standing Still” and is folksy on the Cumberland Gapped “Trick Knee”. Nothing fishy here.
- Jazz Weekly
"To start off with a pun, there is nothing fishy here. The mix of instruments creates a lovely sound, often dominated by the guitar, but everyone can be heard, and the euphonium adds a lovely sweet sound to the mix. This is especially the case on Hard Luck Blues.
On Trick Knee, Bulkley turns in very nice blues shuffle with brushes, just proving a point that one never knows the full abilities of any player. And also on this track the contrast between the synth and the bass clarinet is really nice. As much as I am Dolphy fan, it is great to bear a bass clarinetist not influenced by Dolphy.
In a nice change of pace, Persistence Blues is a nice short piece featuring Dvorin on guitar. And that is followed by The Crab which features a nice arrangement showing off the interplay between the instruments. I love the repeating sound of the bass clarinet under the euphonium solo.
Over all this is a really nice record. There is some great writing and interplay, between the different instruments. At times I wondered if the arranger had some good classical training. And the solos are all first rate."
- Bernie Koenig, Cadence Magazine