17 Seconds to Anywhere
1998 / Windham Hill
Review by Kathy Parsons
17 Seconds to Anywhere is Liz Story's first album of original material in more than five years, and it was well worth the wait! While the music is distinctly Liz Story's inimitable style, all of the pieces in this collection are very accessible and relatively short. Improvisational elements are prominent, but not the long soliloquies of her earlier work.
The album opens with the buoyant and free-flowing "Captain April" - almost an invitation go out and dance in the sun. "Rumors of Discipline" is classic Liz Story; also upbeat and lighthearted, this is a favorite with its march-like refrain and changing rhythms. "Beginners Mind" refers to the Zen concept of approaching any task or opportunity with the fresh and open mind of a beginner - a lovely, melodic flow with classical roots. The moodier chord progressions and rhythms of "Voices" are unmistakably Liz, with a more turbulent and darker feel. "Out of Time" is also on the darker side, with questioning treble lines and responses from the bass - a slow and uncluttered mood piece. The title cut is my favorite. It opens with a series of minor broken chords and evolves into a rhythmically complex and fascinating work. "Easy Access", while not as lighthearted as the opening cuts, elevates the mood again with a lovely melody flowing in and out of rolling broken chords. "The Promise" is probably the most improvised and unstructured piece in the collection - dark but hopeful, and just a little wistful. "Short Fur Coat" has a smooth and gentle quality. "Foxglove" seems almost conversational - lovely, sweet, and simple. "Remember Me This Way" is the only cut not composed by Liz Story - opening with the sound of children laughing, it is sweet innocence set to music.
This album clearly demonstrates why Liz Story has earned such respect and love from so many fans and fellow artists, and I'm sure this will be on many lists as a best album of '98!
October 10, 1998