I love stuff like this. Deep Seven is a quartet of very odd designs. With guitar (Paul Diethelm, Johnny Lang’s touring rhythm guitarist), keyboards (the wonderful Jeff Olson), bass(Mike Zeleny), and drums(Jay O’Donnell), you’d expect standard stuff from a standard lineup. Well, you’d be wrong. The 12 instrumentals here range from Latin-tinged surf music(?) to bluesy bebop to straight rock. Riding rein over the whole affair is Diethelm, whose playing veers the same crooked roads as do the songs. At one moment, he’s deep into a blues run, the next he’s flying through changes like Tal Farlow, and then playing a scary tremoloed chord on a mutated surf tune. What’s really cool about that is he has deep country roots that shine through all those styles. It’s a hybrid that’s very cool and keeps you interested.
The other soloist who’ll grab you is Olson. Check out the bluesy club jazz of “Minor Mood.” His piano solo is a lesson in chops and taste; which can be said of both soloists throughout the record. “My Benevolent Triplet” has not only a great name, but memorable playing. There’s very nice guest sax work on three cuts from Al Asmus, who locks right in. He obviously gets what they’re trying to do.
It sounds a bit silly, but I also love the design of the CD. I won’t try to explain it, but it centers around a restaurant and its owner.
If you have any interest in instrumental music a bit off the beaten path, with great playing, this one’s for you.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s June ’04 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.