AMN Reviews: Chris Schlarb & Chad Taylor – Time No Changes (2021; Astral Spirits / BIG EGO Records)

This is one of those albums that just works. Acoustic guitarist Chris Schlarb and drummer/ percussionist Chad Taylor recorded Time No Changes spontaneously in a December 2019 session. While not free, the duo explores and improvises through a set that covers jazz, folk, and a bit of blues and rock stylings. Schlarb plays both 6 and 12 strings generating catchy and melodies and themes. He doubles on Moog and Hammond but the keyboard work is relegated to a minor role. Taylor, of course, is a well-respected player who has recorded with Rob Mazurek, Nicole Mitchell, Ken Vandermark, and many others.

There is a dream-like and meditative quality to these pieces. Primarily structured and repeating, they lull the listener with their deceptive sophistication. But active listening may be warranted from time to time when Schlarb and Taylor stray off the beaten path into more open-ended territories. Nonetheless, the overall tenor of the album remains pleasant and avoids discordance. They make their improvisational statements within this loose framework and without pretension. The result is a very nice way to spend 40 minutes of your day. The closest comparison that I can think of is early Steve Tibbetts, but without the electric guitar heroics. 

Time No Changes will be put out by Astral Spirits and BIG EGO on May 7. Add this one to your list – you will not regret doing so.