Listening to Some Assembly Required by Kevin Kirk and Onomatopoeia is like throwing your windows open on a warm spring afternoon and letting floral-scented breezes push the wintry must from your house. Amid complex layers of deft musicianship you get the distinct impression that these guys have happy hearts. Even pensive tunes like "Prelude To A Grand Jete" and "Your Theology At 30,000 Feet" contain an element of hopefulness. The style is jazz fusion, but not discordant, experimental noise. The fusion lies in the coupling of multi-layered contemporary compositions with Latin, Irish and classical elements. It's no wonder.
Onomatopoeia's six musicians have serious musical backgrounds. Tom Tompkins (viola, guitar) plays principal viola with Boise Philharmonic. John Hyneman (drums, percussion) is a percussion teacher who studied with Dave Brubeck's drummer, Joe Morello. Bassist Mike Seifrit has backed up the likes of Tina Turner and Three Dog Night. Drummer Patrick Kurdy is president of the Idaho Jazz Society. Phil Garonik (flute, tenor sax) has performed with Gladys Knight and Robert Goulet. And Greg Perkins (soprano and tenor sax) is touted as having a photographic memory for music. Kirk (piano) was exposed at an early age to the jazz of the '30s, '40s and '50s. He developed his chops by touring extensively and has composed award-winning scores for Idaho Public Television. "This CD is filled with delights," quoth Kirk in the liner notes. You can hear that sense of delight and craftsmanship in tunes like the toe-tapper "Gather Us In," the harmonica-inflected "Truck, Truck, Truck, Truck," and the nimble "Salsa To The Wallsa a la Telemann." Like a warm breeze, Kevin Kirk and Onomatopoeia's skillful jazz refreshes and uplifts.