Alone/Not Alone: Dirty Snacks Ensemble, Chris Miller, & One Trick Pony


While new release listings and artist/rep/label inquiries have become the foundation of discovering new music, I do still wander the halls of the internet, just looking for, I dunno, for whatever… following trails of breadcrumbs just to see where they lead.  It’s amazing the hidden music one can find with Google and healthy imagination for tags and keywords.

Sometimes I encounter random tracks that never made it onto a proper album.  Demo tracks, a one-off home studio recording, a decent audio recording of a live performance… creative gems that lose none of their shine or value just because they aren’t included in the track listing of a particular recording.

And so, this new (semi-) regular feature Alone/Not Alone is meant to highlight those stand-alone tunes, sitting out there all by their lonesome and with no immediate hope of becoming part of something larger.  These will be songs I like, and this is my way of sharing news of their existence.




Dirty Snacks Ensemble – “Dirty Snacks for Vivace”

Dirty Snacks Ensemble appears to be the brainchild of Mark Clifford, a vibraphonist, percussionist, and composer living out in the Bay area.  His music spans several genres, and some of his collaborations include familiar names to this site, like Ron Miles, Aram Shelton, Jeff Parker, and Scott Amendola.  Based on the one track he recorded of his Dirty Snacks Ensemble, it’s got a modern chamber-jazz sound not far removed from the territory bassist Matt Ulery treads upon with albums like By a Little Light.

Unsure who the personnel are for this track, however, there are some personnel listed on the ensemble’s Facebook page.  This is the only description given by the artist for this track…

Drew Sowell left the desert and went to florida. the rest of us went to goblin valley

So there you go.

As far as I can tell, this is the one track he’s got loaded up from this particular project.  He appears to have several projects he’s involved with, and his site makes mention of trying to get some albums recorded, but that doesn’t appear to have happened, and I’m not sure that his website has been updated lately.  All that aside, I would love to hear more music from this ensemble.  Check music from other projects on Clifford’s Soundcloud page.


Chris Miller – “Pappy Van Winkle”

This track from tenor saxophonist Chris Miller (who also doubles on dobro for this song) hits the sweet spot on that Jazz Americana sound I’m so enamored with.  A back porch languor. saxophone sighs are moonlight across the field and dobro is the chirping of crickets out from the darkness.  An easy comparison to make is the music of Jeremy Udden.

This is one of three tracks Miller’s got streaming.

Check out more of Miller’s music on his Bandcamp page.

He appears to be a member of the folk band The Broken Stares.  Not sure if he’s doing anything else in the Jazz Americana sound, but it would be nice to hear more of this kind of music from him.


One Trick Pony – “Dear Willmann”

One Trick Pony, the Trondheim-based trio of pianist Ivan Blomqvist, bassist Bjorn Marius Hegge, and drummer Udi Shlomo have a nice understated approach to the modern jazz sound.  Much in the way a fireplace seems to warm the skin even if it’s too far away for the heat to reach, this music emits a pleasant warmth that I rather enjoy.  I find myself returning to track “Dear Willmann” from time to time.

Check out more of the music of One Trick Pony on their Soundcloud page.