Stories Without Words
Chill.Jazz.Funk.New Age.World.Fusion Music

Sea of Tranquility reviews Soliloquy

Reviewer: Steven Reid
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Score: 4 Stars

Already known for his time with jazz and fusion outfits Crystal and Giant Shadows, keyboard player Bill Cornish has gathered together an album's worth of material that didn't fit with his other outfits, and fashioned the band Reason's Edge. Soliloquy is the act's debut, Cornish heading down a slightly rockier path than he's been known for in recent times, a west coast meeting a poppy, jazz-rock meld, the results. Cornish also adds vocals, his enthusiastic efforts, while never going to go down in history as a classic performance, certainly conveying the vivacious approach of the music.

Also credited with keyboards and programming, there's no doubt this album is Cornish's baby and yet the collection of drummers and percussionists that bring their undoubted talents are a huge reason for the success of Soliloquy. Between them Ike Turner drummer Billy Ray, Will Jones and Ron Wikso play on half of the ten tracks presented, while percussionist Javier Perez brings his magic touch to "Voices". Credit however must also go to Cornish for his programming, for while his drummers do him proud, the natural sounding beats elsewhere on the album are thoroughly convincing and engaging. "Changes" especially drawing you in with its popping snare and interesting dynamics. Although the same can be said for the song itself, the album's protagonist utilising strings, sitar and all other manner of effects to get his smooth message across. It's a feature oft repeated, the funky thrum of "Snake Oil" a shimmering stab of horns (courtesy of Jon Attel on sax), while Mike Hackbert brings a trumpet sheen to the enigmatic echo of "Voices".

The mood ebbs from upbeat good times, to introspective grooves, hints of Latin flavours and jazz sprinkled throughout, although with the piercing guitar and piano sounds of "Reflections", Cornish can also do uplifting introspection. Lyrically, "Angry Man", which opens with some instantly recognisable voices from current world events, sums Soliloquy up well, an extremely sideways, if still insightful, look at the world we live in the order of the day. Although the 'message' at no point makes any effort to overshadow the musical structures expertly laid out.

Sitting somewhere between the more jazz fuelled side of Toto and the less obtuse output of Steely Dan, Reason's Edge prove to be a hugely engaging, and gently challenging prospect. That it's also an accessible and memorable journey is where Soliloquy really wins out, an instantly eye catching set of songs constructed in such a way that little nuances and subtleties are revealed with every subsequent re-listen. Oh and I should also mention that Cornish's keyboard work is superb throughout, his deftness of touch equaled, when the need arises, by his exuberant attack. Allowing this excellent side-project to really shine. Maybe there's a chance Reason's Edge will become Cornish's main focus? We can only hope!

IndieMunity.com reviews Happy Critters

Reviewer: Brett Stewart
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The Odd Get Even is a collaborative project between Bill Cornish and Bill Ray, two remarkably talented performers. Cornish has made a name for himself in recent years with excellent instrumental records such as 2013's 'Kaleidoscope,' an album that highlighted his keyboard skills accented by a top notch backing band. Ray has been touring as a professional drummer for years; his discography is extensive and includes a Grammy-winning record. On 2014's 'Happy Critters,' the two combined their skills to record an album that's quite funky and fresh.

If you've dabbled at all in Cornish's discography, then 'Happy Critters' won't be entirely foreign to you. It has elements of 'Kaleidoscope,' the album he put out a year prior. With that said, the inclusion of Ray into the mix provides a stark contrast to his previous work. The two combine into a magnificent force of instrumental strength unlike anything I've heard.

If the music that you're writing (or improvising) includes percussion, your recording or performance is only going to be as good as your percussionist. A good drummer makes a world of difference and that element of a solid record is often overlooked. Ray isn't a flashy drummer, but man, he's on fire on this record. Listen to the song 'No Borders' and ignore the prominent electric guitar riffing, synthesizers, and organ. Behind that is an unbelievably fantastic drum track. Every song is like that in its own regard.

While still excellent, Cornish's studio work felt a bit like quality backdrop music to me. It didn't throw itself into the middle of the road to stop me in my tracks. 'Happy Critters' enamors me in that sense, because it absolutely does. That great percussion backing grouped with the zany and funky keyboard performances results in a mesmerizing listening experience. I love it, and in my opinion, that culminates in tracks like 'Ocean Breeze,' my personal favorite on the album.

'Happy Critters' is so well done; I can't emphasize that enough. It's the best indie instrumental record I've reviewed in months and is a poignant statement about the status of good instrumental jamming: it's alive and well. Cornish and Ray are an irresistible match made in heaven.

IndieMunity.com reviews Kaleidoscope

Reviewer: Brett Stewart
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In this review we're going to rewind to 2013, back to the release of 'Kaleidoscope,' a record that the accomplished keyboardist Bill Cornish put out. The record is an eclectic collection of instrumental music that boasts a wide variety of influences. Cornish describes the album as one that will appeal to fans of jazz, new age, and contemporary world fusion music. 'Kaleidoscope' is a power outing of that musical cocktail.

Though Cornish is only on the keys for the majority of the record, he's surrounded himself with one of the strongest session bands I've heard in quite some time. Guitarist Eric Davies bounces between jazz, blues, and rock riffs� all in one song. This music is the definition of 'fusion' music and that becomes abundantly apparent from the start with the terrific 'Cruise Control.'

Given that it is Cornish's record, listeners may find that the more sparse tracks are actually the most rewarding. The jazz-influenced 'Solitude' showcases Cornish as a masterful performer. It's a hauntingly beautiful ballad that lets him shine in his solidarity. As soon as you're comfortable with the sound, however, the band switches it up and before you know it, you're knee deep in a world-fusion jam like 'Left Coast' with a brass section.

That may be what makes 'Kaleidoscope' better than its independent instrumental counterparts: it's so diverse. The inherent problem with instrumental albums is that you don't want the music to become stale or repetitive. That's a challenge for many performers, usually because eleven or twelve tracks in the same genre highlighting the same instrument can easily blur together. As a result of such a variety of influences and a stellar backing band, though, 'Kaleidoscope' avoids this pothole.

Sea of Tranquility reviews Happy Critters

Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score: 4 stars
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The Odd Get Even is a fusion project of just two musicians; Bill Cornish (keyboards, percussion) and Bill Ray (drums). Cornish has toured with numerous bands and artists including Kansas, Pat Travers, Joan Jett, The Romantics and many others. Ray won a Grammy with his album Risin' with the Blues and has played with many musicians including Ike Turner. Guest musician Mike James adds guitar on the last two tracks.

They released their self-titled debut in 2009 which was followed by Objects in Motion in 2010. Their new album Happy Critters is the subject of this review.

Happy Critters is an amalgamation of fusion, jazz rock and funk filled with great melodies and excellent musicianship. The album's first track "Chill Pill" is a funky jazz rock tune with a Steely Dan vibe and great keyboard work. "Contusion" hits the mark with an excellent fusion inspired guitar solo and trippy keyboards whereas "No Borders" features outstanding organ and a cool synth solo. For a slice of the blues try the sultry "Greasy Spoon" oozing with piano and mind bending keyboards while the duo twist and turn their way through the introspective and jazzy "Stumbling Toward Nirvana", the album's longest track at over ten minutes. Big organ and keyboard fills, excellent guitar work from Mike James and a fusion soundscape that should delight fans of the genre.

Happy Critters is ideally suited for fans of fusion and jazz rock. The melodies, level of musicianship and overall musicality here is hard to deny. An excellent four stars it is.

Sea of Tranquility reviews Kaleidoscope

Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score: 3-1/2 stars
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Bill Cornish is another name I have recently had the pleasure of getting to know. He is the keyboardist for the rock/fusion band The Odd Get Even and has shared the stage with some excellent musicians like Steve Lukather, Zack Wylde and Skunk Baxter. On his latest solo CD Cornish adds piano, organ, synths, percussion and his joined by Bill Ray (drums) along with guest musicians Eric Davies (guitar, lap steel) and Eric Bolvin (trumpet).

Kaleidoscope is a very good album. Although his songs could be placed under the jazz umbrella Cornish never stays in one genre for too long as he moves from melodic fusion, to jazz, to orchestral, to funk, to World music with tremendous ease and fluidity. Whether it is the funk soaked groove in "A Little Bit O' Funk" or the pretty solo piano in the tender ballads "Peace" and "Solitude" there is an awful lot of solid music to dig into here. Other highlights include the hard driving fusion of the album's first track "Cruise Control", the atmospheric "Five Sides to Every Story" and the piano led "Skye" with excellent lap steel guitar giving the song extra depth and texture. His percussion work also gives some of the tracks a Caribbean feel, most notably the uplifting grooves in "Sidewinder" and "Left Coast".

The musicianship on Kaleidoscope is excellent with good melodies and arrangements making it very easy to listen to. I look forward to exploring more of his discography.

Track Listing:

1. Cruise Control
2. Hanging By a Thread
3. Solitude
4. Sidewinder
5. Five Sides to Every Story
6. Left Coast
7. Skye
8. Off the Grid
9. A Little Bit O' Funk
10. Siesta
11. Waltz for San Carlos
12. Peace

Smooth Jazz Ride reviews Kaleidoscope

Reviewer: Ronald Jackson
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Keyboardist Bill Cornish has stepped forward with another fine project full of creativity, imagination, and diversity. Walking along the paths of fusion and World music, Bill Cornish. Kaleidoscope is as its name suggests - a project of changing colors and patterns.

From the fiery, driving lead track, "Cruise Control," to the cool island feel of "Sidewinder" with its melodic vibe presence and solidly integrated fusion moments (an excellent example of how Cornish changes the pattern and mood mid-song, capturing a little of this and a little of that) to the interesting odyssey called "Five Sides to Every Story" to the captivating Caribbean-tinged dance he calls "Left Coast," and on through the other well-conceived and performed tracks found here, Cornish does a wonderful job of engaging listeners of varying tastes. For example, in addition to the tracks I've mentioned, a must-hear is the gritty, funky jam called "A Little Bit O Funk." I would ordinarily say that the song title is appropriate but, in this case, it actually understates the amount and intensity of the funk found here. Check out Cornish's synthesized B3 organ action on this track. Mean.

The album even has an air of mystique about it as the flautist who provides a certain soothing warmth on "Left Coast" and "Waltz for San Carlos" chooses to remain anonymous. Intriguing, to say the least.

This album embraces and, in a sense, pays homage to the desires of those artists in the genre who are always looking deeper within for more of that coloring-outside-the-lines approach. It's what keeps many contemporary jazz fans solidly in the corner of the genre. It strikes me as a somewhat humble, unassuming project that hits hard and effectively. Two thumbs up.

All About Jazz - Take Five with Bill Cornish

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Meet Bill Cornish:
In addition to producing solo CDs, which are an eclectic blend of jazz, funk, orchestral, and world fusion, Bill Cornish is also the keyboardist for the jazz-rock fusion project The Odd Get Even.

From the early '80s through the mid '90s, Cornish was the keyboardist for Crystal, a band where he spent 12 years touring throughout the United States and Japan. During that time, Bill Cornish opened for artists like Kansas, Steelheart, Joan Jett, Steppenwolf, Firehouse, The Romantics, Pat Travers, and many others.

Instrument(s):
Keyboards.

Teachers and/or influences?
Big influences on my playing are Eumir Deodato, Jan Hammer, and Bob James.

Your dream band:
I have a hard time staying within one genre. My dream band would be a groove-oriented jazz group with Middle Eastern, Indian, and African influences. It would balance composition and improvisation with a rock attitude and be backed by a horn section and percussion. Maybe a violinist and a cellist; I'm not sure why have a hard time finding that.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:
Best experiences: getting to share the stage and jam with some talented musicians like Steve Lukather, Zack Wylde, and Skunk Baxter. Also, being inspired by the many talented people I've been fortunate to be in projects with.

Humourous: Dragging one half of Milli Vinilli on stage to sing. Showing up with a jazz band at a venue that wanted to hear metal. Showing up with a hard rock band at a venue expecting a '50s revue.

Worst: Being stranded on the side of the road in the 80s because the equipment truck broke down - sadly not an unusual occurrence. Once, the transmission went out while we were crossing through Donner Pass in the middle of winter. Fortunately, no cannibalism ensued.

Favorite venue:
Back when I was living in San Diego my favorite room was Anthology - just a class presentation across the board. Unfortunately it is closed down now. Humphrey's was also a big favorite and one I got to play quite a bit.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
A refusal to focus on only one kind of music.

CDs you are listening to now:
George Duke, Dream Weaver (Heads Up International, 2013);
Jazziz, Fall Into (Jazziz, 2005);
Billy Cobham, Alivemuthaforya (Columbia, 1978).

Desert Island picks:
If I ever get stranded on a desert island but somehow manage to have access to power so that I can listen to music, I would hope that I have my iPod with me so that I don't have to pick and choose. I don't do well without variety.

What is in the near future?
My fusion project with drummer Bill Ray, The Odd Get Even, is releasing our third album early next year. I am also working with several Chicago-based groups on new recordings for 2014.

What song would you like played at your funeral?
Something grooving and happy with a lot of gratuitous soloing.

Sea of Tranquility reviews Stories Without Words

Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Score: 4 Stars
Link to original article.

You have to hand it to musicians like American multi-instrumentalist Bill Cornish who choose to release albums that don't just rely on one particular style of music. Cornish, who's primary instrument is piano and keyboards, prefers to branch out in as many different directions as possible in order to showcase his diverse musical influences, and his latest release Stories Without Words is no exception.

Like the title implies Stories Without Words is an all instrumental affair and the fourteen tracks served up here range from up tempo funk and R&B, jazz, with elements of classical and world music thrown in as well. Cornish handles most of instruments himself although some songs do feature additional accompaniment performed by a few guest musicians. The album is a seamless balance of bouncy, up tempo tracks and quieter more introspective sounding compositions. The opening cut "Spectral Dancers" along with "Chi-Town Funk" and "Ikimasho" are highlighted not only by their shimmering arrangements, but also by the infectious melodies that remain with the listener long after the songs have finished. However, as much as I enjoyed these buoyant, feel good sounding cuts, the big payoff for this listener was definitely the aforementioned other half of the album, or the more tranquil tracks. "Sunset Cliffs" is a gorgeous piece of music that features a superb, contemplative piano performance, amid an expansive string arrangement that is complimented by the slow burn of the emotional guitar solo that runs throughout. There is no mention of guitars anywhere within the credits of Stories Without Words, so one can only assume that this is Cornish spinning his magic once again. The one-two combination of "The Lake Effect", on which guest musician Joanne Campbell lends some heartfelt violin playing, and "What We Leave Behind", a sparse but highly effective composition containing some fantastic electronic atmospherics, definitely came across as high-points for this reviewer. Other tracks in this vein that are worthy of mention include "Winter, Diamond Lake" and the sparkling final track "Stark".

Stories Without Words is an absolutely stellar listening experience from beginning to end. If you've yet to discover the deep and richly rewarding music of Bill Cornish, then this album is great place to start.

Track Listing:

1) Spectral Dancers
2) Chi-Town Funk
3) Sunset Cliffs
4) Ikimasho
5) Syzygy
6) Perpetual Motion
7) Catwalk
8) What We Leave Behind
9) The Lake Effect
10) Upswing
11) Winter, Diamond Lake
12) Mountain Passage
13) Chaos Theory
14) Stark

Inner Visions makes a Producers Top 10 of 2011 list

Bob Naujoks: Sundays: 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. (Gentle Jazz)
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1) Bill Cornish - Inner Visions (Cornish) Bill Cornish is a pianist who has a varied musical background in Rock, World and Jazz music. His self-release is marvelously eclectic and very stimulating ranging from solo piano to rhythmic ensembles. It's a joyful work and available on line at his website or from CDBaby.com.

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