(108) Neil Tesser, Jazziz -- June, 2000

The musicians are arrayed into five groups; each plays two of von Essen’s songs before turning the microphone over to the next band. It results in an intimate, concert-like tribute, with enough variety to do von Essen’s tunes justice, but not so much as to become flashily eclectic. And the songs themselves deserve that kind of care. From the bumptious guitar on “Peacemaker” to the measured serenity of the opening “Silvana“ (with a Pasqua solo as gorgeous as anything you’ll hear this year), most of these compositions have a refreshing frankness; together they peel away the layers of von Essen’s troubled life to reveal a soul worthy of the commemoration.

Neil Tesser
June, 2000