Exposé Online banner

Herbie Kritzer — The Tree Lizard
((Not on label) no#, 2002, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2005-09-01

The Tree Lizard Cover artCalifornian Herbie Kritzer is clearly someone who enjoys having fun with music. Even his name sounds a bit cartoon-ish, and there’s certainly a streak of sly wit and boy-ish playfulness to many of these eight jazz instrumentals. Kritzer’s main instrument is the piano, through he proves himself equally adept on drums and vibes. What’s even more impressive is how seamlessly the parts are melded together on the album: I could swear I was listening to a small combo playing, not just one guy. Known also as a Stick player (though he was also once drummer of an outfit called Tokyo Sex Whale!), Kritzer’s piano playing is impressive, demonstrating a light yet nimble touch and impressive fluidity when it comes to harmonic extensions. Some pieces even develop a harmonic depth that recalls Erik Satie, best seen in “No Friends.” Elsewhere he imbues the compositions with a springy rhythmic bounce (“Tree Lizard,” “Corn Ball”) or a sly, feline saunter (“Vashon Scratch,” “Tree Lizard Betrayed”) that even hint at Dave Brubeck’s creativity with melodic figures. Dashes of blues make their way into the pieces as well, so as you can imagine the album is really a varied experience, though all well within what one would expect from a small pocket jazz trio. I’d encourage the jazzers out there to track this one down, even though it’s very much an independent effort and probably hard to find. My only complaint with the album is its length, a mere 28 plus minutes. Gimme more, Herbie!

Filed under: New releases, Issue 32, 2002 releases

Related artist(s): Herbie Kritzer

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music festival world, and music festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ozric Tentacles - Vitamin Enhanced – This six-CD set contains the early works of the band from the years 1984-89, heretofore only available on six cassettes that together cost more than this boxed set. For those not yet familiar with the...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues