(Lofish, 2003)

Have you ever visualized particular scenarios down to a minute detail, even if they are likely never to occur? I'll admit that I have, particularly a New York cocktail party. Yes, one of those stuffy yet engaging events portrayed in countless films, the type in which everyone is enjoying the latest concoction and conversing in a high-rise apartment adorned with the most striking modern art. The only part of this scenario that never quite fits is the background music. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the perfect background music for this scenario: Chillin' by Phishbacher.

Actually, this jazzy instrumental album would fit any occasion. With the range this album encompasses, it seems that is exactly what pianist Walter Fischbacher was wanting. (Yes, in naming his trio he intentionally re-spelled his name with a "ph" -- how phunny a phad.) Fishbacker is joined by Hary Ganglberger on drums and Steve Doyle on bass. All the tracks except "Like Someone in Love" by Burke/Van Heusen are original compositions.

While all of the tracks have their own means of cool, there are a few that really hit it. "Chillin' at the Continental" has a big band/mambo with climbing scales and an alternating rhythm that will induce compulsive shoulder bouncing. "Pootish" has a merengue sound with an excellent percussive beat by Ganglberger. "Loopish" has a slightly slower tempo but keeps the heat, like a fusion of Vince Guaraldi and the Marsalis Brothers. The following track, "Return to Nowhere," takes the tempo to a relative crawl, taking time out for a cerebral trip along the piano keys.

Although this album is perfect for your intricately planned mid-Manhattan cocktail parties (hey, it could happen) it is also great background music for reading, cooking, thinking, horseback riding, basket weaving or typing reviews. This album offers something for everyone for any occasion -- Chillin' by Phishbacher is perfectly named.

- Rambles
written by C. Nathan Coyle
published 21 August 2004

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