If you were a New York City Folkie in the 1970s, you will remember Wednesday nights at the Eagle Tavern on 14th Street.

 

Dan Milner started a great club there and introduced outstanding guest performers to New Yorkers. Regulars were Charles O’Hegarty, Frank Woerner, Paul Kaplan, Bonnie Milner, bagpiper to the stars, Larry Cole, Brian Brooks and yours truly.

 

Dan and Brian, along with guitarist Caesar Pacifici, and fiddler Tony DeMarco, formed a band called The Flying Cloud. It was a superb band, they made an excellent CD for Adelphi Records. They eventually broke up and went their own ways.

 

Now, forty years later, Brian and Caesar have got together to produce an outstanding CD called “In Good Company”, with celebrity guest artists. Irish fiddle great, Kevin Burke, the lucky husband of Cindy Kallet, Grey Larsen, Tony DeMarco, and Tony Fitzgibbon.

 

The brilliance of the playing, and the arrangements, are beyond my poor abilities to describe, but a lot of ground is covered. Traditional Irish, to Blues, and new songs by Brian, backed up by his daughters no less.

 

If you remember the music from those magic Wednesday nights, you will enjoy this CD. It is terrific. You can get it at CDBaby and the other usual outlets. BTW, I think that on the bottom shelf at CDBaby, there are a couple of David Jones CDs. 

CAESAR PACIFICI & BRIAN BROOKS

In Good Company

 

Brian Brooks and Caesar Pacifici have a shared musical past as half of the New York based late 70s traditional/folk band, The Flying Cloud, with fiddler Tony Demarco and singer Dan Milner. After that, Caesar Pacifici established himself as an accompanist on a fiddle duet album with fellow New Yorkers Brian Conway and Tony Demarco, while back in England, Brian Brooks joined The House Band.

 

A Flying Cloud revival of interest looks likely now that two of the band members have formed this duo. Both Caesar Pacifici and Brian Brooks are capable multi-instrumentalists and this collection finds them in cahoots with Kevin Burke, Tony Demarco, Tony Fitzgibbon, Grey Larsen and Angelo Pacifici in a mostly instrumental collection based on Irish, American and British folk music. 

 

The intervening years have seen the protagonists develop musically and technically, and while The Flying Cloud was an acoustic band, this album is a more cosmopolitan affair. Expect heavy doses of jazz, blues and rock styles mingled with the traditional roots. The results are full of surprises and move from brisk guitar duets to settings that echo full band workouts. The Morning Dew begins with an extensive Delta Blues flavoured guitar intro, before Kevin Burke’s magic fiddle weaves in the tune and it ends with a fiddle/bones workout.  Cool Reggae has sun splashed Jamaican rhythms and laconic vocals that echo 10CC, before heading into the ethnic strains of The Old Copperplate. Grey Larsen adds some flute to Tony’s jigs, while This Side Of The Sun is a plaintive contemporary folk ballad with Brian Brooks’s ethereal voice melding with a slowed down version of Davy Arthur’s Tamlin reel. The Girl Who Broke My Heart gets an ambient bluesy guitar treatment before the slowed down tune emerges, and Paddy Fahy’s Reel gets a 12 bar blues band intro before a Gypsy swing jazz arrangement with a fluid electric guitar break. This typifies a wide palate where eclecticism reigns, and expect the unexpected is the order of the day.  Both Caesar Pacifici and Brian Brooks are talented musicians and their imaginative approach works wonders. JO

Caesar Pacifici & Brian Brooks

In Good Company

 

This is a debut album with twelve tracks (playtime just over 60 minutes). The cover describes the content as Traditional Irish, Blues and Original Music. These life-time friends were originally members of the New York band ‘The Flying Cloud’ (Adelphi Records), and they toured extensively across the U.S.A. The first track ‘Morning Dew’ begins with a strong rhythm on electric guitar and the fiddle comes slowly in as the pace of the music increases and then they ‘are really jamming.’ In Paddy Fahy’s Reel, I love the way that the music builds. But, why am I singling out tracks? They are all good! Progressing through the tracks is easy on the ear. Caesar and Brian have a musical empathy that comes over in their music. They take simple initial musical statements and weave them into interesting melodies. The music created has a good ambience and is pleasant listening. Much of it has a strong beat and rhythm that owes much to Irish / Scottish music. There is a clever musicianship in this CD. but it isn’t brash or showy. Marmite, you either love or detest but music can grow on you with further listening. This CD is definitely the growing on you type. Treat yourself to a copy today. For further information visit: www. pacificiandbrooks.com. The album is available now through CDBaby.com. EB

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Sample Tracks