With a band like the one Rick Mandyck has put together under the umbrella of American Voyage, it's pretty hard to go wrong. Actually, it's pretty hard to do anything but sound spectacular with Jeff Johnson, John Bishop, and Hans Tueber as your band mates, but Rick Mandyck took this band to the stratusphere at the Musicquarium last night with his solid guitar playing and great choice of tunes. That's not to say that it was all burners or high-powered, full-frontal jazz all night; acutally, I was surprised by the wide diversity of feels and directions the band presented, from traditional blues to reggae to burnout and elsewhere. Among the great songs I heard last night: Trapeze
, a tune by Claudine Francois going around the Seattle scene for quite some time; Machu Picchu
, by Jeff Johnson; What is This Thing Called Love
, with a scorching solo by Hans that made me think the guy can do anything; Rick's new composition Short Shorts
, which has a certain air of familiarity to it (one of the great qualities of Rick's originals). Rick will be starting up a recurring gig with his trio at the Ballard Oddfellow's Hall starting at the end of the month (Sunday the 31st is the first one I believe), and if the gig last night was any indication of what is to come, we should all be getting in line to see those shows NOW! If you haven't come across Rick Mandyck in the past, this is your chance to find out what everybody in Seattle has been talking about for the last 20 years.