KFJC 89.7FM

Bad Luck – “3” – [Tables & Chairs Music]

Thurston Hunger   4/15/2016   12-inch, Jazz

Fantastic sax and drum duo from Seattle. KFJC DJ/MD
aBacus Finch said they are even more potent live which
is high praise voltage considering this 2014 recording.
Their album is bristling sharp percussion from Chris
Icasiano, his snare is crisp and he’s more about tight
rhythms than florid free-for-all bursts. Iscasiano likes
to shadow his tenor partner Neil Welch on staircase sax
runs. Welch’s style is often staccato and sweet, and
he augments it all with outstanding electronics. A high
drone sample piercing over the top on “Power Ballad”
during breaks is one example, it ends in a dark alley
where you night bump into Der Club of Gore. Most of
side B has a charged distortion bucking at your ears,
makes that feel like it could plug right into an old
Pop Group ditty. “Tour Song” rises and falls, with some
silence at times, it’s like the duo are playing on
a nuclear sub during a meltdown. I’m not sure if it’s
the electronics or Welch’s compositions (quick flicking
melodies) but this jazz vinyl flat out rocks. More swinging
than Zu, but it’s got that similar brash appeal. Welch’s
use of effects is seamless and spectacular. The duo
ends the album with a short smoldering “Heart Machine”
and then a cover of the Art Ensemble’s “Nonaah” that
palpitates and thumps in cycles. If it weren’t for
Bad Luck our radio station would be a little less lively.
-Thurston Hunger

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