Skip Heller - Homegoing (2002)
By Mark Saleski
Artists deserving wider recognition. You see this kind of thing all the time in music polls. And do they ever gain wider recognition? Not usually. Mostly because they're maybe a little too esoteric, too interesting for the mainstream public.
I know that's playing kinda fast and loose with musical stereotypes ... and heck, maybe I'm being too hard on people's taste ... but it sure does seem like some artists are swept under the rug just because they don't happen to toe the mainstream line.
Skip Heller is one of these artists. A guitarist/composer/bandleader originally hailing from Philadelphia, Heller's music is hard to pin down (another attribute of artists deserving wider recognition?). He's done soundtracks (TV, movie, cartoon), lounge, rockabilly, rock and jazz. He's even toured with NRBQ. Makes sense, doesn't it?!
Homegoing was Skip's tribute to his influences: from pop music to rockabilly to jazz. Like a lot of Heller's music, this recording is infused with fun. No somber takes here. No Wynton-like fawning. The fun begins with the very first note as the chord you hear is the opening chord from The Beatles' A Hard Days Night." Great Stuff.
A quick listen to any of these tracks makes me think of the organ trios of Wes Montgomery and Grant Green with some horns ocasionally tossed in there to spice things up. There's even a couple of vocal appearances by Dave Alvin.
Maybe Skip Heller doesn't want the recognition I think he deserves. That would be OK with me. Just as long as he keeps making music like this.