Temple Dwellers CD

Temple Dwellers
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Vicki Richards - Temple Dwellers
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Temple Dwellers
Vicki Richards
Temple Street
1998
TSM2001
Recorded at Artisan Records, Florida, 1997
Engineer: Peter Yianilos
Assistant engineer: Brad Kreskin
Produced by Amit Chatterjee
Mastered by Michael Fuller
1. Wellspring 7:09
2. slices of Ravel 1:52
3. Earthwalker 5:01
4. Montserrat 6:06
5. slices of Ravel 0:58
6. slices of Ravel 0:45
7. Restless Moon 5:47
8. Naima 4:51
9. Garuda 6:52
10. Temple Dwellers 12:47
Vicki Richards Violins, vocals
Tim Richards Tabla, log drum
Sam Chiodo Bass
Amit Chatterjee Guitars
Jean Balduc Drums on “Wellspring”
Layne Redmond Frame drums
Robert Thomas Jr. Drums, cymbals, clay pots
Miriam Stern Violin
Debbie Spring Viola
Luisa Bustamante Cello
TEMPLE DWELLERS Review
Stanford Daily, By Lauren Russell
May 4, 2000Vicki Richards’ “Temple Dwellers” is a unique art form in itself. Blending her impressive professional background in classical violin with her more recent training in North Indian classical violin, along with the superb collaborative talents of electric guitarist Amitava Chatterjee, drummer Robert Thomas Jr. (of Weather Report “fame”), and highly-talented tabla player Tim Richards, “Temple Dwellers” develops a sound that breaks the boundaries of any standard musical category.Richards’ career may explain the complexity and imagination that comes across in her art. At the age of nineteen, she had already established a professional career as a classical violinist, having toured Europe and becoming the youngest member to join the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra. Influenced heavily by jazz contemporaries like Herbie Hancock and John McLaughlin, she began to experiment with sound and commissioned a custom-built, solid body electric violin with quadrophonic pick-ups, and plugged it in to a wah-wah pedal and Fender amp. She then began to collaborate with more jazz-oriented musicians (like Thomas Jr.) and with musicians trained in Indian music (like Chatterjee and Tim Richards), and developed something entirely new to the-music world. 

“Temple Dwellers”‘ is the culmination of decades of experimentation. and heaps of musical talent. Richards uses her violin to create a wide variety of effects, both electrifying and calming. “Temple Dwellers” has melodious tracks that are soothing enough to guarantee you wonderful dreams if you listen to them while going to bed, like “Wellspring,” “Naima” and “Montserrat.” But this is certainly not an album created to put anyone to sleep-the relaxing pieces are interspersed with songs full of elaborate drumming and penetrating guitar sections, coupled with Richards’ distinctive electric violin, which can only be described, as extremely alive and poignantly stirring.

My favorite parts of the album are Richards’ three interpretations of Ravel pieces. They are distinctively more classical than the rest of the album, and bring three recognizable Ravel songs alive with beautiful vibrancy. In these songs we see how incredibly talented Richards has, as she can pull off classical violin like a traditional master and also dive deeply into more experimental, clearly unclassical sounds.

The album ends with the track “Temple Dwellers,” which is a haunting, slow song full of vocals and a wide variety of rhythm instruments. Richards displays her deeply-rooted interest in Native American cultures in this piece, which culminates in an increasingly hypnotic pounding of drums. If you like Robbie Robertson’s recent work, you will love this song.

“Temple
Dwellers” is a masterpiece in both its musical craftsmanship and its never-before-heard sound. Its mesmerizing sounds will liven up your days and stay with you in your dreams. I highly recommend giving it a listen.

Alternative
Press #148 Review

November 2000

TEMPLE DWELLERS Review
Mark Burbey
Alternative Press
November 2000

Violin virtuoso melds East and West; classical and jazz and defines the true meaning of fusion.

Vicki Richards is a world-class musician who could have easily settled into a career as a concert violinist. Intrigued by
the rise of jazz fusion in the mid-70′s, however, she was eventually drawn to the eastern traditions of rhythm and improvisation and spent time in India with violin master N. Rajam and sitar virtuoso Amar Nath Misra.

During the 80′s, Richards followed a path blending East and West, classical and jazz. Temple Dwellers (like the preceding
Parting the Waters) is a rare amalgam of styles and cultures. The opening “Wellspring” embraces her zest for rhythm
and melody. Three pieces inspired by Maurice Ravel transcend their classical roots and make the genre sound fresh and new. Two pieces written by Amit Chatterjee, “Restless Moon” and “Garuda,” could pass for lost Mahavishnu Orchestra
tracks, with Chatterjee’s guitar and Richards’ violin sounding like a John McLaughlin/Jerry Goodman reunion. Tracks like
“Montserrat” offer moments of peaceful reflection, and her rendition of John Coltrane’s “Naima” is meditatively tribal. With Tim Richards and Robert Thomas Jr. among those providing tabla and assorted percussion, Temple Dwellers is dedicated to spirit and craft, art and musicianship, beauty and friendship.

-My favorite parts of the album are Richards’ three interpretations of Ravel pieces.

…Extremely alive and poignantly stirring.

- On the last track, “Temple Dwellers”…if you like Robbie Robertson’s recent work, you will love this song.

-Temple Dwellers is a masterpiece in both its musical craftsmanship an its never-before-heard sound. Its mesmerizing sounds will liven up your days and stay with you in your dreams. I highly recommend giving it a listen.”

“Violinist Vicki Richards e-mailed me recently to say she had seen my 1998 review of Parting the Waters only last month. Keeping with the theme of time dilation, I considered it appropriate to finally check out her 1999 release Temple Dwellers (Temple Street Music). Fusion music predominates, though a few classically based interludes pop up, including Richards’ jaw-dropping multi-tracked version of herself as string quartet on “Slices of Ravel.” On “Wellspring” I first thought I was hearing a sarangi. But it’s Vicki emoting deeply with a nod to classical Indian styles as a drum kit, tabla (played by Tim Richards) and Sam Chiodo’s jazzy bass build a structure strong enough to accommodate the elation of her gorgeous violin. Amit Chatterjee of Weather Report fame contributes a Mahavishnu-esque lead guitar to the piece. After surviving English prog-rock group the Flock in the 1970s, I never thought I’d ever want to hear a violin with wah-wah pedal again. But her subtle use of this gimmick on “Earthwalker” emulates a human voice to marvelous effect. “Temple Dwellers” uses violin, voice and percussion to evoke the majestic loneliness of the Canyon de Chelly Navaho site. Richards’ versatility, taste and style are abundant on this disc. Major record labels, where are you? 

…..(by Bob Tarte, The Beat magazine, Volume 22, Number 2, 2003)