Album Review

Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet & Ne Zhdali – “Pollo d’Oro ” – [No Man’s Land]

Thurston Hunger   7/19/2007   A Library, CD

1998 release following a meeting of the musical minds, a
Seattle slew of saxistas join Estonian tone stoners led by
Leonid Soybelman. KFJC’ers might recognize Soybelman from
his Kletka Red releases, with his great flat-tire guitar
which shows up here striving to bend brittly around corners.
The corners from the quartet though are mostly smooth, and
well-rounded. At times they meet for a sort of European
clown dance jazz, but when people sing (or better just
cavort), things take on a more maniacal beauty. Something
about the air of “Kansas” captures that kraziness at its
best. When the Tiptonians taunt the bassist with faux wah
wah’s before Leonid gets his chicken pecking guitar out,
while I could see some people disliking it, I dig it every
time. For similar reasons, “Argonauts” with its chicken
adulation and checkered sonics also pleased my palate.
Vadim Veeremaa and superhero Amy Denio soar on that track.
“Wheel of Fortune” teaches some exotic bird (Denio?) to surf.
Soybelman really is a great guitarist, as a singer he sounds
kinda like a talking cigarette (see “Uke” and “No Moon, No
Sun” here…both nice). Tracks 7 and 8 are just sketches
and #11 is an outtake, actually two that have a lot silence
in it…so beware. Evidently this was a hasty meeting brought
about by a grant; their energies are well-matched…and they
deserved a second date. KFJC needs to score more Ne Zhdali;
a killer rhythm section of bassist Oleg Davidovitch/drummer
Vitaly Redchits perk up a lot of the tracks.

-Thurston Hunger

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