Album Review

Revolutionary Snake Ensemble – “Live Snakes” – [Accurate Records]

Thurston Hunger   1/30/2015   CD, Jazz

Pretty heavy duty one-two punch starts this album from a fast flying
hydra big band led by Ken Field. Track 1, “Parade” while touching
on elements of the New Orleans tradition, caught my ear as a
lost modern brother of the South African bands with Chris McGregor
and Dudu Pukwana. Breath-taking upbeat on that, and the energy
drives on into “Cassandra 4” the second track. Both of those
feature TWO drummers, Kenny Wollesen and either Phil Neighbors
or Joey Lefitz (actually most tracks have two drummers) but
you really feel the snap from them on those two lead-off cuts.
Jerry Sabatini’s trumpet is at times alone (although doubled
in spacey delay) with the drummers on #2, and it’s quite the
stirring cockatil. Alex Smith’s electric bass thumbs along for
the ride, and when Field hops on for his solo, the funk button
is in full effect. Their first cover “Rock of Ages” is up next
and New Orleans flavors are strong. On “Slots” Matt Darriau
(we’ve got some old killer Paradox Trio stuff from him), makes
his presence felt, not just with the criss-crossing melody lines
with Field, but a flute-flavored color-by-numbers section that
trickles to near silence, before Wollesen jumpstarts it back
to finish. More covers follow “Caravan” is pretty damn sauntery
if not stoney and the best of that lot IMHO. “For Karen” offers
a drifty fog, “I Got It” is a sunny marching band. I wonder of
the last two tracks were CD add-ons, but whoever put them on
thanks…the theremin-pierced remix is galacti, and “Breakdown”
hearkens back to some of the best Thirsty Ear beat-collider
digi-blue jazz. Ride the Snake!
-Thurston Hunger

you heard it 25 times on kfjc! most recently:
Ken Field says

Thanks for this awesome review - you guys rock big time!


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