Joshua Stamper’s "Wend"

Elevator pitch: The music on Joshua Stamper’s new album, Wend, sounds like Dave Brubeck after watching an all-night Rockford files marathon, or Vivaldi after riding in his cousin’s ’82 Camaro driving down a red clay road in the late afternoon with Kansas’ “Leftoverture” in the tape deck. What? Vivaldi’s cousin didn’t own an ’82 Camaro? Well excuuuuse me, Mr. Fancy-facts!

I first met Josh when he was a fresh-faced (albeit bearded) kid at Hampshire College. At the time, he didn’t play guitar, or if he did, I didn’t really pay attention because I am an incredible narcissist. I met up with him a few years later and discovered that he had turned into a tremendously gifted guitarist and composer. I also discovered that his wife, Kory, (a terrific writer and lexicographer who helps decide what words go in the dictionary, but that’s another story) makes a green chile stew that is to die for. Over many bowls of green chile stew I got know know Josh and Kory and was treated to the glorious sounds of Josh and his guitar, and of the many groups and ensembles he has written for and performed with.

The musicians on “Wend” play violin, cello, double bass, alto saxophone, bass clarinet, marimba, flute, clarinet, percussion, and guitar. The music is full of unusual time signatures, but you’re having such a good time listening you forget that your standard diet of 3/4, 4/4 and 6/8 is being spiced up. It’s fun, inventive, cinematic stuff, warmly and intimately recorded (on “clay” you can hear the endearing sound clarinet keys clacking, reminding you that this is music made by humans in real space). You can check it out here: