The playing of percussionist Frank Donaldson is important to the realization of Siegel's ideas. Much of the time he uses a small Indian tabla drum, and not just because it's quiet enough not to overwhelm the stringed instruments a gently played snare would do just as well for that. It's almost as if the interposition of a third voice helps to reconcile two musical languages that remain quite far apart. Corky Siegel's Chamber Blues may be among the more arcane musical acts to come to town this year, but this music exhibits some pretty original thinking that bears on the vexed question of how we might all get along.
[Originally published in June, 2005.]