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Thief of Time

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Album Review

Although Artie Traum has long been a folk-rock artist first and foremost, the word "jazz" frequently comes up in connection with the veteran singer/songwriter and acoustic guitarist. Traum has often brought a major jazz influence to his work, and he is quite capable of functioning in an instrumental setting (the Traum CD Acoustic Jazz Guitar is a collection of instrumental performances spanning 1992-2004). But Thief of Time is strictly a vocal album; it is also one of Traum's most rewarding and consistent efforts. Traum has, on occasion, recorded albums that were inconsistent and uneven, but this 2007 release is memorable from start to finish — and Traum (who wrote or co-wrote most of the material) excels on tracks that have a strong post-bop jazz influence (such as "Midnight Blue," "Back in the Sugarcane," and the infectious opener, "Bonnie Jean") as well as tracks that don't (for example, "Halifax," "Last Tree in the Bronx," and the haunting "Insult a Man"). A few of the songs find Traum playing some electric guitar (including "Bonnie Jean" and "Cuckoo Bird," another selection with a definite jazz influence), but Traum plays a lot more acoustic guitar on this 48-minute CD — which is appropriate because even though he clearly knows his way around the electric guitar, he is really an acoustic-oriented artist at heart. Traum's ability to perform instrumentals on other albums does not erase the fact that he is very much a part of the storytelling troubadour tradition; acoustic-oriented settings have a long history of serving troubadours well, and an acoustic-oriented approach certainly serves Traum well on the captivating Thief of Time.

Customer Reviews

Artie Traum is a masterful artist-this is an outstanding collection of great songs

Artie, as usual, provides heartfelt, direct-hitting singing and great lyrics. The album has a languid, soulful intelligence and my favorite song is "Back In The Sugarcane"-this collaboration with Wendy Waldman and John Sebastian has "classic" written all over it. I can see this one being covered by many singers-it's singable, meaningful, and just plain fun. Wonderful work from a true artist. In an era of fakes-Artie Traum is the real deal!


Born: April 3, 1943 in The Bronx, New York, NY

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Singer/songwriter and acoustic folk-jazz guitarist Artie Traum was based in Woodstock, New York. Born in the Bronx, he followed his brother Happy into folk music in the early '60s in the New York area, taking guitar lessons from jazz artists. He and his brother formed the folk-rock group the Children of Paradise in the mid-'60s and, after Happy's departure, they changed their name to Bear and recorded an album for Verve Forecast. Traum moved to Woodstock in 1967 and worked as a record producer and...
Full Bio
Thief of Time, Artie Traum
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