KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Skeriks Syncopated Taint Septe – “Skeriks Syncopated Taint Septe ” – [Ropeadope Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Some Fun, Fine, Funky, Punky, Hip-Hop Jazz from Seattle. Saxophonist Skerik (he has been on many other recordings with groups like Critters Buggin’, Frog Brigade and Galactic.) There is a lot of variety here from Horn Driven Groove-Monster to Zappaesque Aligned Noodles, but nothing is too scary – I could have almost put this in A library… all tracks are instrumental – no vocals. No idea on Skerik’s real name. Recorded Summer of 2003 live in one session at the Owl & Thistle club in Seattle.
Track 2 has an odd Latin beat – not quite sure if it is a Rumba or something else, but it is way fun. Track 4 is just a short introduction to Track 5 a mostly very happy, pop rock jazz thing – let it play through! Track 6 features a twisted analog synth-piano and B-3 Organ duet with wild guitar.
Track 9 is a Double Bari-Sax Monster Mash -YOW!
The group name comes from the 1930’s Anti-Drug Czar Harry J. Anslinger – it was the term he used for the “Rhythmic and Moral Contamination that is Jazz? *review by Studebaker Hawk

Reefer Songs [coll] – [Mojo Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Proving the often stated case that early Jazz Musicians were nothin’ but a lot of Dope Smokin’ Vipers that would soon corrupt the moral values of our “Youth”- this is a GREAT collection of songs that relate to the drug culture of the 1920s through the 1940s. There are solos, small groups and big bands singing about Dopey Joe, Minnie the Moocher, Jerry the Junker, Texas Tea, and all that other “Fine stuff.” These are some of the songs that inspired the revival of jug bands in the 1960s and the re-revival by groups like the Asylum Street Spankers and many others. Sometimes funny but there are some sweet-sad songs as well. Remember, grass was quasi-legal up until about 1937 so these were songs that fit into the culture of the times. Just the thing for your “4:20 Break” and as far as I can tell the lyrics are all clean (if suggestive…) 1996 release date. We also have another version in Blues *review by Studebaker Hawk

Gove County Philharmonic, the – “Circus Doesn’t Stop At…, the ” – [Pfmentum]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Starting off with an old, scratchy recording of a pleasant little city park band (strings and horns) playing a waltz on a Sunday afternoon, the Grove County Philharmonic is a quaint look back at another century of music. THEN THE EVIL CLOWN HITS YOU IN THE FACE WITH A TURD PIE, KICKS YOU IN THE ASS WITH HIS FLOPPY SHOES AND STOMPS ALL OVER YOUR EARS WITH A SCREAMING, DISCORDANT MUTANT CIRCUS BAND FROM HELL!!!!!!
Actually, after that first shock things get stranger, nicer, and back to strange again – all over the place, musically until the band kinda just fades away down the road …. I like it! *review by Studebaker Hawk

Free Radicals – “Our Lady of Eternal Sunny… ” – [Rastaman Work Ethic]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Take a whole bunch of people to recording studios in Houston and New York and turn them loose – what you get is an amazing mixture of jazz, funk/soul, noodles, beats, poots and honks – some great, some don’t go much of anywhere (and they cut after a few seconds – watch out!) A few tracks have a ska/rock flavor but overall it is mostly more leaning towards somewhat structured jazz. Very nice when they get going… *review by Studebaker Hawk

Brass Monkey Brass Band – “Live in Time and Space ” – [Weed]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Some local brass wackos have formed this modern New Orleans Brass Band to put the SF/Improv flavor into some old standards and new tunes. Jon Birdsong (Lords of Outland) on the sousaphone really sets the funk pace but everybody else does a lot of interesting stuff here as well. Goofy fun in a “live in studio recording” (must have been some party!) Mostly instrumental with some incidental vocal things between songs. Track 7 is a nice take on a Steve Wonder tune and is actually 16 minutes long with a little gap – the end is a dub take (very odd) so let it play! *review by Studebaker Hawk

Naked Orchestra, the – “Brief Repairs on the Gradually ” – [Jonathan Freilich Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

The avant-garde music scene in New Orleans is a bit rough – there is so much other great musics going on there it gets ignored by most. Jonathan Freilich (New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars) put this group together to explore the outside possibilities of New Orleans & klezmer traditions. The others in this orchestra come from some of the best brass/funk/punk/junk bands. Some of the compositions are a bit stiff and “anti-funky” – something that is very hard to do in “The Big Sleazy,” but the rest have an unusual energy. Track 5 takes klezmer harmonies at an analytical pace so you can really hear the complexities of the chords and rhythms. *review by Studebaker Hawk

Youngblood Brass Band – “Unlearn ” – [E Pluribus Bumpass Music]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

Back with Attitude – the Youngbloods have jumped up several levels since their last CD. with special guest vocal by Ike Willis (ex-Zappa) track 4 and lots of & rap-poetry stuff with Talib Kweli and Mike Ladd – some bits of bad language tracks 7 & 8, DJ Skooly scratching and a solid brass section, lead by “The Warrior” on Sousaphone (check out his acoustic-weird tones on some tracks using no electronic effects…) These guys are from the suburbs of Madison, Wisconsin but they still live in the heart of New Orleans Soul. *review by David Richoux

New Klezmer Trio – “Short for Something ” – [Tzadik]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

Yet another in the “Radical Jewish Culture” series – this one finds Ben Goldberg noodle-ing around on his clarinet – mostly minor key and mysterious (even the Freylekhs are pretty slow,) Dan Seamans rumbling around the basement and Kenny Wollesen holding the whole thing together on percussion. Very dark and sad yet beautiful music on this CD. *review by David Richoux

Caravana Cubana – “Late Night Sessions ” – [Dreamer Music /Rhino]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

Rhino RecordsWith all the attention on Cuba and New York based Afro-Cuban Jazz people tend to forget another long time center for this style – Los Angeles. Dizzy Gillespie really focused this in the 40’s. Here we have a true all-star cast of musicians and singers (some were in that Dizzy Band) deep in the roots of Cubanisimo doing some hot, danceable, exciting and driving ensembles. Thanks to the folks at Rhino for producing this original (not reissue) session.
– *review by David Richoux

Sexmob – “Solid Sender ” – [Knitting Factory Records]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

Knitting FactoryBack again with another wild recording – Steve Bernstein, Briggan Krause, Tony Scherr and Kenny Wollsen (and many guests) step into the void left by the death of Lester Bowie to totally fuck with some jazz and pop classics. This time it is Rock and R&B instead of “spy movies” and the stuff is outstanding!
Imagine if you will: “Ruby Tuesday,” “Please3” or “For What It’s Worth” done by a rowdy buncha New Orleansish New Pork funk horns, a giant rubber band bass (with a string section and a bit of turntable action on some tracks!) YOW!
Watch out for a lot of really short tracks between the real stuff – not exactly introductions, but they are separate things. Track 17 features the Sex Mob Children’s Choir. *review by David Richoux

Lewis, George New Orleans Jazz – “Hello Central ” – [Delmark]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

Don’t confuse this George Lewis with the jazz trombone player.
This one was a New Orleans clarinetist who took the original jazz style (less solo, more ensemble) out to the world. Playing to what were called “Moldy Figs” or trad revivalists (mostly white) -G.L. sparked a great deal of interest in this New Orleans style. He played an Albert System clarinet, so the tuning can sometimes sound a bit off, but folks really liked it. This recording was done in 1953 (a peak year for the revival) San Francisco with a great touring band. Some vocals – great music… *review by David Richoux

Nicholas, Albert & Art Hodes – “Albert’s Back in Town ” – [Delmark]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

As the liner notes tell you, Albert Nicholas was one of the important clarinet players in the early years of jazz and he kept on playing well into the 60’s. Check out the list of bands he played in! On this 1959 session with pianist Art Hodes (Ho-dez, I think) and his band you will hear some great “classic traditional” jazz – not “Dixieland,” not “Trad Revival” – just some great tunes played with inspiration and long-term knowledge of what to do with them. all instrumental, with some alternate takes. *review by David Richoux

Mora’s Modern Rhythmists – “Mr. Rhythmist Goes to Town ” – [Mr. Ace Records]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

Much like the Bay Area band “Royal Society Jazz Orchestra,” Mora’s Modern Rhythmists from the LA area have worked very hard to recreate the early 20’s-30’s orchestra style of jazz. Meant for both dancing and listening, these “Society” bands had a smooth yet hot sound (very polite for jazz) playing in posh hotels, ocean liners and fancy parties. On this recording there is an interesting mix of tunes from the early eras of jazz and proto-swing. The style of singing and playing is not a total imitation of Paul Whiteman recordings, but there sure is a lot of influence. Fun stuff… *review by David Richoux

Clusone 3 – “An Hour With… ” – [Hat Hut]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

Like the other Clusone 3 recordings we have, this is some fun stuff! More bird inspiration, and I don’t mean Charlie Parker.
Reijseger on cello is WAY out there, but Moore and Bennink don’t do anything to bring him back. Goofy and silly jazz at times but then things settle into a groove – no explanations. *review by David Richoux

Amh Trio – “Live at Field & Frame ” – [Plutonium Records]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

Hoonkh, Blurt, Weerrbbble, Scree, Poot, Groan, Grummph, etc.
Fun stuff from the lower register from Albuquerque – Bari Sax, Tuba, Bass Clarinet and some higher things as well – very strange but not really scary when compared with some of the other things we have been getting lately. Seems to be total improvjazz but it is hard to tell these days… Mark Weaver on tuba is showing a lot of chops!
*review by David Richoux

New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra – “Grace and Beauty ” – [Delmark]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

While Ragtime was not invented in New Orleans, it was very popular and was a major part of the development of jazz in that city. John Robichaux (Row be show) had a band and did a lot of ragtime arrangements in the early 20th century. In 1965 these charts were found and a band was formed in 1967 to play them. The musicians on this 1967-1970 recording also played in the early Preservation Hall bands in the ’60s and some were playing jazz in the 1930s and ’40s.
Not a slick band (check out the New England Ragtime Conservatory band if you want polish) – there is some problem with intonation and the pace is a bit ragged, but these are some sweet tunes. All instrumental and of an era that will not come round again… *review by David Richoux

Jackson, Franz & the Salty Dog – “Yellow Fire ” – [Delmark]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

A recent recording (not a reissue) of the Salty Dogs, a Chicago style trad band from Purdue that has been around since the late 1950s! Still playing great music (most of the tunes on this CD could have been heard in some Chicago jazz joints since the early 1920s) this is just great, swinging, driving, hot jazz. Some good vocals, just a bit of hokum – but check them out!
*review by David Richoux

Beebe, Jim – Chicago Jazz – “Saturday Night Function ” – [Delmark]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

2 LPs in one CD, a bargain pack of great Chicago Style traditional jazz recorded in the late 1970s with an all-star lineup of musicians from the mid-west and west coast. Trombonist Jim Beebe had a great deal of experience before these sessions and the band definitely knows what it is all about. There are two trumpets (or trumpet/cornet) for that unmistakable King Oliver-Louis Armstrong style lead line. There are a lot of different looks here, from boogie-woogie to slow blues, swingers to New Orleans jazz standards. Some well placed vocals, but the important part is how this band really cooks, regardless of the line-up.
*review by David Richoux

Butcher, John/Robair, Gino “New Oakland Burr” [Rastascan]

Thurston Hunger   1/9/2005   CD, Format, Jazz

Recently issued capture of two 2001 sessions between local
percussion-plus purveyor (and chief man at Rastascan) Gino
Robair, and UK sax whacker John Butcher. The album starts
with high-pitched twitting over a (bowed?) rumble droner;
it’s hard to tell if that whistling is amplified Butcher or
Robair sawing on some styrofoam or both. The key is that
both guys are willing to stretch their sonic repetoire to
the point of illusion. Thus at times on this you’ll get the
“drummer” squonking away, while the “horn” player is tapping
out a spit-rhythm or other percussion. On other tracks, both
guys approach an alien sound together, like on “Slug Tag”
where they are speaking metal slowscrape. Robair’s ebowed
snare appears on the “Pudsey Surprise” like a fly trapped
buzzing in window screen, Butcher bugzaps some electrosax.
A lot of turf covered here from the drone-tundra of “Fid”
and “Peal” to more squigglery on “Blagovest.” Humor not
to be discounted, hear the sax whinny on “Vug” and Robair
gets in on the joke, but I’m not sure on what instrument.
Would have been great to see this in person live, these
tracks are as short as they are strange…so they are very
easy to squeeze in and play musical ears.

Peter Brotzmann’s Chicago Tentet Plus Two “Broken English” [Okka Disc]

Thurston Hunger   1/9/2005   CD, Format, Jazz

Despite a leading gentle mantra guided by Hamid Drake’s vocal
prayer, frame drum and soul…do not be deceived, this is
**horsepower** jazz. Peter Brotzmann knows how to whip up a
stampede. He rides into the fray with a gypsy’s tarogato,
calming cycles to go with Drake’s dream chant… But just
shy of six minutes, skyscrapers of sound shoot up through
the idyll. Cue the lurching Longberg-Holm cello…unleash
the dual drumheart of Zerang and Drake pumping at more than
capacity, and the race has begun. Brotzmann has amassed
some mighty thoroughbreds…plenty of NRG and BBQ to keep
the fire music flaming…but “Stonewater” does have some
stillness running deep in pockets. Ultimately it is the
sputtering saxes that stand-out, I’m telling you I hear
horses…lip-flipping, braying, raging stags. So even when
we get a little clarinet soft-shoe around 18 minutes in,
and then a very faint cello/bass duo, I’m waiting for
the hoofs…which leap in almost like a bad edit. For all
the fine playing, track one is acoustically imbalanced.
The second tracks stays strong throughout, a nice brass
oven at the end of its first third. The piece pauses
for a trumpet soliloquy at 13:36 (McPhee?) then it’s
over to Gustaffson for his pyrotechnique. Late in the
piece a drum duet locks in, invites in a swinging set
from the whole twelve and boom, a cliffhanger ending.
Years of music barely fit into 67 minutes, escape words.
Listen, follow one player for awhile, repeat..

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